MANHATTAN, Kan. – The K-State baseball team erased a three-run deficit with three runs in the bottom of the eighth to help force extra innings, but two solo home runs by No. 19 Texas in the top of the 10th proved to be the decisive runs in the Wildcats’ 9-8 loss on Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium.
RJ Santigate’s two-run single in the eighth brought the Wildcats within one run, and Blair DeBord’s RBI single tied the game at 7-7 and helped K-State overcome what was at one point a four-run lead for Texas (36-16, 13-11 Big 12). The Wildcats trailed 7-3 entering the bottom of the seventh before Taylor Anderson’s RBI single closed the K-State disadvantage to three runs.
K-State had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the ninth as the Wildcats loaded the bases with one out following three walks issued by Texas pitcher Ty Culbreth. Austin Fisher, however, grounded into an inning-ending double play that forced the game into extras.
Culbreth went on to earn the win despite allowing two runs, one earned, and five walks in 2 2/3 innings. The left-hander committed a balk in the 10th to score Santigate, who reached with a one-out walk. Culbreth ended the game, though, by inducing a fly out by Mitch Meyer with DeBord on third base representing the game-tying run.
The Wildcats, who won in come-from-behind fashion on Saturday, ended their season on the losing note, finishing out the year 25-30 and 5-19 in Big 12 play.
“Obviously it is too late,” said K-State head coach Brad Hill about the last two games of the season. “That is disappointing for me, the fact that if you take these two days and plug them into the rest of the season, then we would probably keep playing. Unfortunately, the body of the whole season is the result, not the last two days.”
K-State left a season-high 15 runners on base, going 4-for-22 with runners in scoring position. The Wildcats loaded the bases in four different innings, including in the early going in the first and second frames. K-State finished by going 2-for-6 with the bases full.
Ben Johnson hit a leadoff home run in the 10th to make it 8-7 Texas, and two batters later, Tres Berrera hit his second home run of the game and third in the last two days to give the Longhorns a two-run lead.
K-State pitcher Nate Griep surrendered both of the home runs in the 10th as the right-hander suffered his seventh loss of the season. The redshirt freshman allowed two runs on four hits and four walks in 2 1/3 innings.
Wildcat starting pitcher Jake Fromson allowed five runs, four earned, on seven hits in a career-high 5 2/3 innings. The freshman, making his second career start, surrendered an unearned run in the first, two runs in the fourth, and left the game with two runners on base in the sixth after allowing back-to-back two-out singles.
Freshman Ethan Landon relieved Fromson after the second of the consecutive singles, but Landon allowed a three-run home run to the first batter he faced, Zane Gurwitz, that gave Texas a 6-3 advantage.
The Longhorns added a run in the seventh when C.J. Hinojosa hit an RBI double with two outs after Madison Carter reached on an error by first baseman RJ Santigate. Carter hit a groundball to third base, and Lance Miles’ throw pulled Santigate off the bag, forcing him to tag Carter down the first base line. Santigate dropped the ball on the tag after Carter collided with Santigate’s glove.
K-State began its rally quickly with a run in the bottom half of the seventh. Max Brown hit a double into left field, and after two straight fly outs, Anderson knocked in Brown from second with a single to right field that made it 7-4 Texas.
The hit for Anderson was his only base hit of the day as the sophomore went 1-for-5 with a walk and a run scored. Brown, meanwhile, went 1-for-2 with three walks, two runs scored, and a hit by pitch. After reaching base safely in all four of his plate appearances on Saturday, Brown extended his streak of reaching base safely to nine straight plate appearances after his first five trips to the plate on Sunday.
Alex Bee was one of three Wildcats with two hits, with the first of his two hits being an RBI double in the second inning that ignited a three-run frame for K-State. Trailing 1-0 entering the frame after Texas scored a run in the first, Bee cashed in Anderson’s leadoff walk in the second with the double. Later in the inning, Fisher gave the Wildcats a 2-1 lead with an RBI single, and Brown drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 3-1 K-State.
Texas tied the game in the fourth after Herrera’s first home run, and Collin Shaw grounded into a double play with the bases loaded to even the game at 3-3.
Seniors Kivett and Santigate both matched Bee’s team-high two hits in their final games at K-State. Santigate added two walks to go along with his two hits and two RBIs while Kivett went 2-for-5 with a walk and two runs scored.
The Wildcats had 11 hits in the game, giving them double-digit hit totals in their two games after being no-hit on Friday.
Texas had 14 hits, led by three by Barrera. The Longhorns also had 13 runners left on base.