Conlon's Solid Start Helps K-State Win Series Opener
April 21, 2011
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Freshman left-hander Shane Conlon tossed 6.2 scoreless innings in his first career start as Kansas State claimed a 2-1 series-opening win over Texas Tech Thursday evening at Tointon Family Stadium.
The Wildcats, who have been involved in one-run outcomes in five of their last seven games, improved to 22-15 overall and 6-10 in Big 12 Conference play with their sixth one-run victory of the season. The Red Raiders fell to 24-16 and are also 6-10 in conference action.
Conlon (2-0), who made just his sixth career appearance, limited the Big 12's third-best hitting team to only four hits while striking out a career-high five batters without issuing a walk. The Naperville, Ill., native retired the first nine Red Raiders and threw four no-hit innings until Kelby Tomlinson singled to lead off the fifth. In that inning, Conlon worked around runners at first and third by inducing a double-play ball to keep Texas Tech off the board.
The left-hander also pitched around a two-out single in the sixth inning and left the game to a standing ovation after another two-out base hit in the seventh.
“Shane was outstanding,” head coach Brad Hill said. “For a young guy to go out there in his first start against one of the best hitting teams in the league, he did a great job. That’s a team that has given us some fits over the past few years. He mixed pitches and had great composure with runners on base.”
Evan Marshall finished the seventh inning for the Cats in relief and was touched for an unearned run in the eighth. James Allen worked a perfect ninth inning, recording two foul outs and a game-ending strikeout for his 11th save. The right-hander, who has a win or a save in seven of his last nine outings, is just one save away from tying both the career- and single-season records at Kansas State.
“It’s tough to pitch through an error and you think you should be in the dugout,” Hill said about Marshall’s eighth inning. “All of a sudden you have to face Barrett Barnes, who is one of the best hitters in the league, and he gets the base hit. The tying run is now at second, but Marshall came back and made a really good pitch to (Stephen) Hagen, and James was also really good in the ninth.”
Texas Tech starter David Paiz (3-3) took the loss after surrendering two runs on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts in 4.2 innings.
The Cats were led offensively by Ross Kivett and Jason King with two hits apiece. Kivett went 2-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to 10 games, the longest by a Wildcat freshman since 1994. King smashed a triple into the right-center field gap to score Kivett in the third inning as part of his 2-for-3 night.
Texas Tech scored its run in the eighth inning when a two-out error extended the frame and put runners on the corners. Barnes then singled into right field to pull the Red Raiders to within a run, but Marshall got Hagen to ground out before handing the game over to Allen.
Kansas State and Texas Tech continue their three-game conference series on Friday with a 6:30 p.m., first pitch at Tointon Family Stadium. A pregame tailgate begins at 5 p.m., in the picnic area beyond the left-field wall. To order tickets, fans can log on to www.k-statesports.com/tickets, call 1-800-221-CATS or visit the K-State Athletic Ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum. The ticket windows at Tointon Family Stadium open one hour prior to first pitch.