(Courtesy: K-State Athletics)
STILLWATER, Okla. – Oklahoma State scored two runs in the eighth inning to complete a four-run comeback as the Cowboys edged Kansas State, 7-6, Saturday afternoon at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium. With the win, OSU improved to 27-10 on the year and 7-6 in Big 12 play, while the Wildcats fell to 27-13 overall and 6-5 in league play.
After both teams scored two runs in the second inning, K-State plated four in the third to take a 6-2 lead. However, Oklahoma State came back with three in the fifth inning. Randy McCurry began the scoring with two-out infield single with the bases loaded. On the play, Austin Fisher tried to throw out Tanner Krietemeier at second base, but his throw went into right field as another run scored.
Krietemeier tried to score on the play, but K-State right-fielder Jon Davis threw him out at the plate. However, obstruction was called on second baseman Ross Kivett, which allowed the third run to come across as OSU got to within one and captured the momentum.
Following a scoreless sixth and seventh innings, Zach Fish hit a two-out, two-strike fastball off Gerardo Esquivel (0-2) over the wall in center field to tie the game at 6-6. Esquivel was unable to limit the damage as Trey Whaley immediately doubled off the right-hander.
Whaley was lifted for a pinch runner in Jarrett Higgins, and K-State went to the bullpen to bring in Jared Moore. Moore proceeded to walk pinch-hitter Corey Hassel before Saulyer Saxon lined the eventual game-winning hit into left field.
Kansas State, which tallied 13 hits for a second-straight game, didn’t do itself any favors offensively as the Wildcats were shut out after their four-run third inning. During that stretch against Kenton Bevacqua and Vince Wheeland (8-0), Kansas State stranded seven of its 10 base runners. K-State had an opportunity to extend its one-run lead in the seventh inning when it loaded the bases with one out, but an infield fly and a out on a bunt attempt by Kivett ended the frame.
“We didn’t finish again today,” head coach Brad Hill said. “We got up and didn’t score for six innings. That can’t happen. We were into their bullpen. Give their bullpen credit, but we didn’t finish today. We couldn’t do it offensively, and then the big innings happen. We gave up mistakes and panicked in different situations.”
Wheeland earned his eighth victory of the season by allowing just one hit in 2.2 innings.
K-State starter Matt Wivinis could not make it out of the fifth inning despite being given a four-run advantage. However, the Wildcat bullpen held the lead through the fifth, sixth and seventh innings. Levi MaVorhis worked around three hits in two scoreless innings before Esquivel finished off the seventh with a strikeout and produced a double play in the eighth before giving up the game-tying homer.
“I thought we pitched well enough today,” Hill said. “We just didn’t put them away from an offensive standpoint. Gerardo was outstanding. He just made one mistake against a guy that can hit one out.”
Davis tied his career high with four hits, including two doubles, as he hit a RBI double in the second and a run-scoring single in the third. The other second-inning run scored on a passed ball.
The first three Wildcats reached in the third inning, including a RBI double by Shane Conlon and a RBI single up the middle by Jared King. Following a sacrifice bunt and Davis’ single, Blair DeBord hit a sacrifice fly to right field, completing the four-run inning.
Fisher and Tanner Witt also added multi-hit games with two hits apiece.