OMAHA, Neb. – Despite scoring two runs in the top of the ninth inning, the K-State baseball team’s late-game rally fell short in a 4-3 loss to Creighton on Friday at TD Ameritrade Park.
Ross Kivett drove in the two K-State runs in the ninth with a bases-loaded single, but the Wildcats (15-10, 1-2 Big 12) were unable to capitalize later in the frame with another bases loaded situation. RJ Santigate flew out to shallow left field, and Tanner DeVinny lined out to left to end the game. K-State left 11 runners on base, including eight in the final four innings.
“It was a disappointing night,” said K-State head coach Brad Hill. “I didn’t feel like we were engaged in the first six innings. Next thing you know, [Creighton] takes a 4-1 lead, and we decided to play, but it was too late.”
Creighton (12-7-1, 0-0 BIG EAST) stranded nine runners and hit into two inning-ending double plays, but the Bluejays utilized a K-State error in the fourth and sixth innings to help put up a pair of two-run innings.
In the fourth, K-State starting pitcher Levi MaVorhis mishandled a bouncing comebacker that put runners at first and second base. After a Creighton sacrifice bunt, Brett Murray delivered a two-run, two-out single to make it 2-0 Creighton.
In the sixth, an RBI fielder’s choice by Creighton’s Kevin Lamb made it 3-1 Creighton before pinch hitter Joey Mancuso was hit by a pitch from reliever Landon Busch with the bases loaded to give the Bluejays a 4-1 advantage.
K-State had four errors on the night, including two by starting pitcher Levi MaVorhis.
“With a night like tonight, you’re not going to score a lot of runs,” said Hill. “You have to execute the little things, which we did not do.”
The Wildcats had nine hits in the game, seven of which were notched in the final four innings. Kivett, Blair DeBord and Carter Yagi each had two hits to tie for the team-lead. Kivett and DeBord also had a double to open an inning – Kivett in the sixth and DeBord in the seventh – to help make up their multi-hit efforts.
Kivett’s 2-for-3 night extended his hitting streak to 11 games and his on-base streak to a career-high 23 games. Santigate and DeVinny also extended their respective hitting streaks to 10 games after they both collected one hit.
Kivett scored K-State’s first run in the sixth when Santigate hit a ground ball to Jake Peter, but the Creighton second baseman mishandled the grounder for the Bluejays’ only error of the game.
MaVorhis took the loss for K-State, his third of the season, after allowing four runs, two earned, on seven hits and one walk. The right-hander struck out three in his 5 1/3 innings pitched.
Jake Matthys surrendered three hits but no runs in 2 2/3 innings. He struck out three while not issuing any walks.
Creighton’s starting pitcher Matt Warren improved to 5-0 on the season. The right-hander allowed one unearned run and five hits in 6 1/3 innings.
John Oltman earned the save after being summoned with runners on second and third base in the ninth. He intentionally walked the first batter he faced, Austin Fisher, but induced the back-to-back fly outs to end the game.
K-State and Creighton will meet in game two of the three-game series on Saturday, March 29. First pitch at TD Ameritrade Park is set for 2 pm.