MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State rallied in the bottom of the eighth for the second straight day, this time for five runs, as the Wildcats took the final game of the three-game series with Texas Tech, 7-3, to clinch the series Sunday afternoon before 1,014 fans at Tointon Stadium.
With the win, Kansas State, which now has seven late-inning comeback wins this season, improved to 20-8 overall and 3-3 in Big 12 play, while Texas Tech dropped to 20-12 overall and 4-5 in league play. The Wildcats have now won two straight series against the Red Raiders in Manhattan and have not lost a series to Tech since 2004.
After Texas Tech took a 3-2 lead on Doug Thennis’ RBI double in the top of the eighth, Kansas State mounted yet another late-inning comeback to take the win. Rob Vaughn, who finished 2-for-2 with two runs scored and two RBI, led off the inning with a double to left center, chasing Tech starter Josh Scofield from the game. Tyler Link then bunted Vaughn over to third and reached first base safely after Odom’s attempt to throw out Vaughn at third failed.
After pinch hitter Brett Scott was hit by a pitch, Drew Biery tied the game at three with a sacrifice fly to right center. Justin Bloxom then drove in the winning run with a single through the left side, scoring Link, to give the Cats a 4-3 lead. Byron Wiley then singled to load the bases and Eli Rumler drew a bases loaded walk to score the fifth K-State run of the game. Nate Tenbrink’s two-run double gave the Wildcats some breathing room as they took a 7-3 lead into the ninth inning.
Daniel Edwards came in and worked around a two-out walk and got Matt Smith to strike out swinging to end the game. Trevor Hurley notched the win in relief to move to 1-1 on the season after giving up two runs on five hits with no walks and two strikeouts in 3.2 innings. Edwards closed out the game but did not enter in a save situation.
K-State starter Ben Hornbeck was very effective through three innings as the sophomore went 4.1 total in the game and gave up one run on five hits with five walks and three strikeouts in the no-decision.
Texas Tech reliever Aaron Odom (3-4) suffered the loss after giving up four runs on two hits in the eighth inning. Starter Josh Scofield was solid for the Red Raiders, lasting seven-plus innings and giving up three runs on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts.
Solo homers by Tech’s Geoff Byrns and K-State’s Vaughn provided the scoring early on until the Cats took the lead with another Vaughn RBI in the fifth. Tenbrink led off with a walk and hustled all the way to third on an Eddie Vasquez sacrifice bunt. Vaughn then plated Tenbrink with a sacrifice fly to give the Cats a 2-1 edge.
Tech answered with single runs in the sixth and eighth innings to take a 3-2 lead before Kansas State broke through for its five runs in the deciding eighth inning.
Kansas State continues play this Tuesday as the Cats host in-state rival Kansas in a non-conference game. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Tointon Stadium in a game that will be televised live by Fox Sports Midwest.
Courtesy: Kansas State University