April 5, 2013
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MANHATTAN, Kan.– Austin Fisher’s two-strike, two-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth drove in the winning run as Kansas State came from behind to defeat Texas Tech, 6-5, Friday evening in front of a season-high 3,866 fans at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the win, K-State improved to 21-10 overall and 4-3 in Big 12 play. It was the Wildcats’ first walk-off victory since last April against Northern Colorado, while it was the first in conference play since an 11-10 win over Kansas on May 20, 2011. Texas Tech fell to 17-15 overall and 4-6 in league action.
The Wildcats trailed 5-4 entering the ninth inning but put two runners on base with one out after Shane Conlon singled and Jared King was hit by a pitch. Tech relief pitcher Jerad McCrummen (1-4) was lifted after hitting King and right-hander Johnathon Tripp entered the game.
Tripp forced RJ Santigate to fly out to left field for the second out. Jon Davis was next and faced a 2-2 count before pulling a pitch into right field for a hit, scoring Conlon to tie the game at 5-5 and moving King to third base.
Fisher, who had already doubled twice, quickly fell behind Tripp. Facing a 0-2 count, the left-hander pulled an inside pitch through the right side of the infield as King came across for the game-winning run.
“There were a lot of big at-bats, particularly late,” head coach Brad Hill said. “We got them when it counted because we left 11 on base again tonight. But the bottom line is when we had to have them, we got them late. Conlon starting it off was big because you have to get a base runner on first, which is the big one, and we got a couple more after that tonight.”
The game-winning hit capped a 3-for-5 evening for Fisher, who tied his career-high in hits and also scored a pair of runs to also tie a career-best.
“I ended up getting down in the count,” Fisher said. “I saw him throw a curveball the pitch before. I knew I would be out in front, but there was a big hole (in between first and second base) and I just tried to hit in that hole.
“It feels great to get a win like that,” Fisher said of the victory. “We’ve been on the wrong end of that too many times.”
The 3,688 fans at Tointon Family Stadium on Pack the Park Night marked the fourth-largest crowd in stadium history and the largest since a facility-record 4,745 fans saw K-State defeat Wichita State, 8-3, on April 30, 2010.
“There was a good crowd tonight,” Hill said. “Hopefully we won some fans over. The crowd was a big factor late. The more noise they make, your guys get amped up, but the other team feels like it’s only 27 guys on their side and there was about 4,000 on our side tonight.”
Freshman Jake Matthys (4-0) earned the win as he recorded the final out of the Texas Tech ninth inning. The right-hander inherited a runner at second base after a two-out double, but he induced an inning-ending fly out to set up the heroics of Davis and Fisher.
Another freshman relief pitcher, Levi MaVorhis, kept the Wildcats in the game as he slammed the door on the Red Raiders in the fifth inning. After Jake Barrios doubled off starter Joe Flattery to give Texas Tech a 4-2 lead, MaVorhis recorded a ground ball out to end the frame and only allowed an unearned run in the sixth while facing the minimum number of batters in the seventh and eighth innings.
MaVorhis allowed three hits and a walk with two strikeouts in his four inning of work.
In addition to Fisher’s three-hit contest, Ross Kivett and Blair DeBord also registered multi-hit games with two apiece. Fisher and DeBord teamed for consecutive two-out RBI doubles in the second inning to give K-State a 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, Texas Tech received a RBI ground out from Brennan Moore before Tim Proudfoot and Brett Bell registered consecutive run-scoring singles to give the Red Raiders a 3-2 advantage.
Trailing 4-2 in fifth, Santigate beat out an infield single with the bases loaded to pull the Wildcats to within one, but a strikeout and a fly out left the runners stranded.
Kansas State and Texas Tech continue their three-game weekend set with a 2 p.m., contest Saturday at Tointon Family Stadium. The Wildcats will send sophomore right-hander Matt Wivinis to the mound, while the Red Raiders will counter with left-hander Jonny Drozd.
A pregame tailgate will be held in the southwest lawn area of the stadium grounds beginning at 1 p.m., while Saturday also serves as Junior Wildcat Day. Fans can purchase tickets online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets or visit the Tointon Family Stadium box office beginning at 1 p.m.
Saturday’s game will be televised to a national audience on Fox College Sports. Listeners in the Manhattan area can hear the game on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN, while free live audio is also available online at www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.