MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State senior starting pitcher Joe Flattery worked 5.1 scoreless innings with four strikeouts and the 18th-ranked Wildcats plated two runs in the sixth and seventh frames en route to a 5-2 victory over No. 19 Oklahoma Saturday evening at Tointon Family Stadium.
K-State improved to 39-15 on the year and bettered its school-record mark in Big 12 play to 16-7. The 2013 Big 12 Champion Wildcats also tied the school record for regular-season wins and won their second series against Oklahoma in the last three years. The Wildcats look for their first sweep of the Sooners since 1990 on Sunday in an 11 a.m., contest as the game time was moved up due to impending weather.
The Sooners fell to 35-19 overall and 12-11 in Big 12 action.
Making his first start since April 19 at Oklahoma State, Flattery was dominant to begin the game as he retired the first 12 batters he faced, eight coming on ground outs and three more via strikeouts. The first adversity he faced was in the fifth when a pair of singles led off the frame, but, after a sacrifice bunt, Flattery stranded those runners in scoring position when he struck out Hunter Haley and forced Garrett Carey to fly out.
“We turned it over to the pitching staff tonight,” head coach Brad Hill said. “We needed that from Joe Flattery. That was a big effort. It was hard to get going today, and we needed a great pitching effort. We found a way to get a few runs.”
A product of Fort Dodge, Iowa, Flattery did not surrender a run in a starting outing for the first time this season and third time in his two-year career.
A one-out infield single reached in the sixth inning before Flattery left to a standing ovation. Gerardo Esquivel came into the contest to induce a pair of fly outs to keep OU off the board.
Flattery’s performance allowed the Wildcat offense to battle until breaking out in the sixth inning. Leading 1-0 on a Jared King RBI ground out in the first, K-State loaded the bases with one out in the sixth. Lance Miles was next and hit into what appeared to be an inning-ending double play to shortstop, but Hector Lorenzana’s throw to first base was wild as Mitch Meyer and Blair DeBord each scored.
The next inning, Meyer came through with the bases loaded as he hit a 2-1 pitch through the right side of the infield to plate two more, making the score 5-0.
Meyer, who also recorded a two-RBI single Friday night, finished the game 2-for-4. DeBord went 2-for-3 with a walk and a run, while Shane Conlon was 3-for-4 and scored on Meyer’s seventh-inning single.
Jake Matthys earned his sixth save of the year to tie the K-State freshman record. Matthys, who broke the school’s record for wins by a freshman Friday night, tied Nate Williams’ mark of six saves in 2012.
Oklahoma starting pitcher Ralph Garza, Jr. (4-1) suffered the loss by surrendering three runs (two earned) on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts in 5.1 innings. The Sooners were led at the plate by Lorenzana, who went 2-for-4.
Kansas State concludes the regular season Sunday against Oklahoma at 11 a.m., Sunday morning at Tointon Family Stadium. The Wildcats will hold Senior Day festivities prior to the game. Fans can purchase tickets online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets or at the stadium box office beginning 60 minutes prior to the game.
The game can be seen nationally on Fox College Sports and will be aired in the Manhattan area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN. Free live audio is also available online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.