May 17, 2012
LUBBOCK, Texas – K-State senior pitcher Kayvon Bahramzadeh allowed just two runs in a season-high eight innings and freshman reliever Nate Williams snuffed a late Texas Tech rally as the Wildcats topped the Red Raiders, 7-5, Thursday evening at Rip Griffin Park.
With the win, K-State improved to 25-28 overall and 6-16 in Big 12 play. The Wildcats need one win in the next two days to punch their ticket for a berth in their sixth-straight Big 12 Championship. The Red Raiders fell to 28-25 overall and are tied with K-State in the conference standings at 6-16.
K-State jumped on Tech early with three first-inning runs and cruised for eight innings behind the sterling effort of Bahramzadeh (7-3), who had a career-long outing in Big 12 play. The Wildcats stretched a 3-1 lead to 5-1 with single runs in the seventh and eighth innings, then built what appeared to be an insurmountable lead when they pushed across two more runs in the ninth for a 7-2 advantage.
Gerardo Esquivel was called upon to work the ninth inning for K-State in relief and was promptly greeted with a home run by Bo Altobelli. Four of the next five batters reached base as Esquivel struggled, walking one batter and hitting two others with pitches. After Jamodrick McGruder was hit to bring across a run and cut the lead to 7-4, K-State lifted Esquivel after getting just one out.
Williams came out of the bullpen and walked Reid Redman on a 3-2 count, pushing across another run as the Red Raiders pulled within 7-5. Now facing one of the Big 12’s best hitters, Williams buckled down and struck out Barrett Barnes on a 1-2 pitch then induced Scott LeJeune to hit an easy fly ball to right field for the final out and the victory.
“Nate did a great job to come out and stop momentum, because they were waiting to run on the field and celebrate,” head coach Brad Hill said. “To be honest with you, everyone in the stadium felt like they were going to except for Nate and the guys on the field.”
Williams, who ranks in the top five in saves in the Big 12, picked up his sixth of the season to break the K-State freshman record held by James Allen, who had five in 2009.
Bahramzadeh allowed just two runs on four hits with a pair of walks and three strikeouts. After giving up a pair of two-out hits that scored a Texas Tech run in the first, Bahramzadeh retired 22 of the next 24 batters he faced until a two-out solo homer by Barnes in the eighth inning.
“Kayvon was just awesome,” Hill said. “When they had two hard-hit balls in the eighth, I just knew that was it (for him). He competed. He found their weaknesses and went for it, and he stayed there all night long. He just did a great job and did was he does – he competes.”
With his seventh win of the season, Bahramzadeh moved into the school’s top 10 for single-season victories and picked up his second-straight conference win after just one in his career prior to last week.
The K-State offense, which recorded double-digit hits for the third time in the last four Big 12 games, pounded out six extra-base hits, the most in a Big 12 game this year. Two of those were solo home runs by Blair DeBord in the seventh and Jared King in the eighth that gave the Wildcats much-needed insurance. Additionally, five of the Wildcats’ seven RBI came with two outs.
King led the way with his team-leading 25th multi-hit game of the season, going 3-for-4 with three RBI. He got things going for the Wildcats in the first inning as he singled home Ross Kivett before consecutive RBI doubles by Jon Davis and RJ Santigate made the score 3-0.
Red Raider starter Duke von Schamann (6-4) found his groove after that, setting down 15-straight Wildcats until a two-out single by Wade Hinkle in the sixth. The Wildcats then exploded in the late innings behind the homers by DeBord and King before a run-scoring triple by Kivett and a two-out RBI single from King in the ninth stretched the lead.
“We had some big tack-on runs because those two at the end came up big. You never say it’s over on the road because things like what happened in the ninth can start happening.”
Barnes led Texas Tech with two hits, while the top five hitters in the Red Raider lineup tallied all five RBI.
Kansas State and Texas Tech continue their three-game series on Friday night with a 6:30 p.m., first pitch at Rip Griffin Park. The Wildcats will send left-hander Joe Flattery to the mound, while Tech will counter with right-hander Jon Neely. The game will be aired in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN and online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.