MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State’s offense erupted for 10 runs on 11 hits in the first three innings and Daniel Edwards closed out the final 2.2 innings on the mound as the Wildcats beat No. 11 Texas A&M, 11-6, Sunday afternoon at Tointon Stadium to take the final game of the three-game series.
With the win, Kansas State improved to 32-19 overall and 10-13 in Big 12 play, while Texas A&M moved to 40-12 and 13-10. The 32 overall wins on the season are the most in head coach Brad Hill’s four years at K-State and also are the most since the 1997 team also won 32 games. The Cats’ 10 conference wins are also the most in Hill’s tenure at K-State and are the second-most Big 12 wins in school history, behind only the 2002 squad that went 13-13 in Big 12 play.
After a 1-2-3 first for K-State starter Chase Bayuk, the Cat offense wasted no time getting on the board as Derek Bunker led off with a double down the line in left. Adam Muenster was then hit by a pitch before Byron Wiley singled through the right side to score Bunker and move Muenster to third. Nate Tenbrink then sent a sacrifice fly to deep center to plate Muenster and move Wiley to second. Tyler Ruch’s double down the right field line capped the three-run inning and scored Wiley to up the Wildcat lead to 3-0.
After the Aggies answered with three runs in the top of the second to tie the game, the Wildcats had an answer themselves as they plated four more runs to take a 7-3 lead. In the inning, Wiley appeared to connect on his seventh homer of the season, this one of the grand slam variety, but passed Muenster in between first and second as Muenster had held up to potentially tag up on the play. So, Wiley was credited with a three-run single and was put out at first base unassisted as the Cats took a 6-3 lead. Tenbrink followed with a bunt single and came around to score the seventh run on Ruch’s triple off the wall in right center.
K-State then pushed across three more runs in the third as Brett Scott, Eddie Vasquez and Rob Vaughn each collected infield singles to load the bases with no one out. Sacrifice flies from Bunker and Tenbrink and a bases-loaded hit batsman with Wiley at the plate gave the Cats a comfortable 10-3 lead.
Bayuk (5-4) earned the win after scattering six hits in 5.2 innings with four strikeouts. Aggie starter Scott Migl, the first of six pitchers on the day, was saddled with the loss after giving up six runs on five hits in just 1.1 innings to fall to 6-2 on the season.
The Aggies plated two runs in the fifth inning to make the score 10-5 and threatened to get closer in the seventh until Edwards entered the game for the Wildcats. Tenbrink had homered in the bottom of the sixth for the Cats to up the lead to 11-5, but the Aggies then loaded the bases in the seventh off relievers Todd Vogel and Ben Hornbeck in what proved to be a key spot in the game. Edwards surrendered a sacrifice fly and got a strikeout to get out of the jam with an 11-6 lead. The junior closer then retired six of the final seven hitters, including striking out the side in the ninth, to close out the win.
K-State’s one-through-five hitters in the lineup combined for 12 of the Cats 15 hits on the day, while Tenbrink’s 3-for-3 day and Wiley’s five RBI paced the offense.
After Sunday’s action around the Big 12, the Wildcats remain in sixth place in the league standings at 10-13, while Baylor and Oklahoma remain tied for seventh at 9-15 each. Kansas is in ninth at 8-15 and Texas Tech is in 10th place at 7-16. Nebraska is currently ahead of the Wildcats in fifth at 12-12. With three games remaining, Kansas State needs just one more conference victory or a Kansas and Texas Tech loss to secure a spot in the Big 12 Conference tournament.
Kansas State plays its final home game of the 2007 season Tuesday as Illinois State visits Tointon Stadium for a non-conference matchup. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. The Wildcats then travel to Waco, Texas, for the final Big 12 regular season series at Baylor.
Courtesy: Kansas State University