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COURTESY: K-State Sports Information
MANHATTAN, Kan. – A two-run double by Jared King in the sixth inning broke open a tight pitchers’ duel, helping freshman right-hander Levi MaVorhis earn a victory in his first-career start as Kansas State won the series opener over TCU, 6-1, Friday evening at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the win, K-State improved to 30-13, reaching the 30-win mark for the seventh time in the last nine years. The Wildcats, who are now 8-5 in Big 12 play, became the second-fasted team in school history to reach the 30-win plateau, just one day shy of the 2009 squad. TCU fell to 19-22 overall and 7-9 in league play.
Holding a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning, Tanner Witt and Shane Conlon produced consecutive one-out singles before King laced the third pitch he saw from Preston Morrison (6-2) into the left-center field gap. Kansas State added another run in the inning on an error to take a four-run advantage and never looked back.
“He’s really good,” head coach Brad Hill said of Morrison. “Our guys did a pretty good job. We competed and didn’t give them a lot of easy outs. Some guys did some good things, and it’s not always the things that show up in the box score. Obviously, Jared had the big two-run RBI double that took a lot of pressure off.”
MaVorhis (4-0) tossed a career-high 5.1 scoreless innings with a walk and a strikeout. The Freeland, Wash., product, who made 16 appearances out of the bullpen prior to Friday, worked around eight hits – four of which did not leave the infield – as he forced the Horned Frogs to ground into a pair of double plays and strand five base runners.
“He had great composure on the mound,” Hill said. “He allowed leadoff hitters to reach four innings but induced ground balls. He didn’t get rattled or try to overthrow. The things you see a lot of kids do, he didn’t do tonight.”
King led five Wildcats that had two hits in the game as he added a run-scoring single in the eighth inning to record his team-leading ninth multi-RBI contest. Ross Kivett, who picked up his 19th multi-hit game of the year, singled home the first run of the night in the third inning.
Morrison allowed four runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 5.2 innings as he suffered only his second loss of the season. The right-hander surrendered three earned runs after carrying a 1.06 ERA entering the contest.
Three TCU hitters recorded two-hit games, including second baseman Paul Hendrix, who drove in the lone Horned Frog run on an eighth-inning sacrifice fly.
The Wildcats scored six runs against the second-best pitching staff in the league, while their 11-hit output marked the 32nd game with 10 or more hits this season.
Kansas State and TCU continue their Big 12 series Saturday with a 4 p.m., contest at Tointon Family Stadium. A pregame tailgate will be held beginning at 3 p.m., while season ticket holders can purchase general admission bench tickets for $3. Fans can purchase tickets online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets or at the stadium box office beginning 60 minutes prior to first pitch.