LUBBOCK, Texas - The K-State baseball team committed four errors, including three in Texas Tech's three-run fifth inning, that helped lead to a 4-3 loss to the Red Raiders in the series opener on Friday at Rip Griffin Park.
The Wildcats (20-14, 2-5 Big 12) led 2-0 entering the bottom of the fifth, but back-to-back leadoff singles by the Red Raiders (26-11, 6-7 Big 12) put runners at first and second base for Tim Proudfoot. The Red Raiders' number-nine hitter laid down a bunt, which was fielded by K-State starting pitcher Levi MaVorhis, but the right-hander's throw sailed past first baseman Shane Conlon to allow Bryant Burleson to score from second and make it 2-1 K-State. The next batter, Stephen Smith, followed by hitting a ball to K-State shortstop Austin Fisher with runners on second and third, but Fisher bobbled the grounder and made an errant throw for two errors on the play that allowed the Red Raiders to plate two runs and take a 3-2 lead.
K-State committed its fourth error of the game in the eighth inning. Texas Tech had runners on first and third, and Adam Kirsch hit a soft ground ball near the first base line that was fielded by K-State pitcher Jake Matthys. Matthys attempted to throw the runner from third out at home, but the right-hander's throw was off target to allow the Red Raiders to seize a 4-2 advantage.
"If we don't make the errors, you probably hold [Texas Tech] down to one run," said K-State head coach Brad Hill. "They didn't drive in a run with a base hit. We gave up some early base hits in innings, and we let errors allow them to score."
K-State has committed 12 errors in its last five games and has 52 errors this season.
The Wildcats jumped ahead in the third inning with RBI base hits by Shane Conlon and RJ Santigate. Clayton Dalrymple led off the frame with a single, and he promptly stole second base and advanced to third on an errant throw by Texas Tech catcher Hunter Redman during the steal attempt. Dalrymple would score on Conlon's run-scoring single while Conlon went on to cross home on Santigate's double that made it 2-0 K-State.
K-State ended the third inning, though, with bases loaded when Blair DeBord struck out swinging against Red Raiders reliever Cameron Smith. Smith limited the Wildcats to three base runners - a hit, walk and hit by pitch - in five innings of relief while also striking out five to earn the win.
"If we score three or four in the third inning, it takes a lot of pressure off," said Hill. "Right now, we're not able to finish things off, whether it's offensively or defensively, to win games."
The Wildcats left 13 runners on base, including two in the fifth with runners on first and second and three in the eighth in a bases-loaded situation.
K-State scored a run in the top of the ninth when Tanner DeVinny drove in his team-leading 27th run of the season with a single through the left side to score Fisher. Max Brown, who entered the game as a pinch-runner in the eighth, ended the threat by hitting into a double play with runners at first and second base.
The loss ends K-State's four-game winning streak against Texas Tech. It also drops K-State's record in one-run games this season to 3-5.
K-State had nine hits, with two apiece from Fisher, Santigate and Dalrymple. DeVinny reached base three times with a single, walk and hit by pitch.
MaVorhis took the loss despite a quality start. He allowed three runs, two earned, in 6 1/3 innings. The sophomore also struck out three and walked one.
Ethan Landon spelled MaVorhis in the seventh inning, and halted the bottom of the seventh with a runner in scoring position. He was responsible for the unearned run in the eighth after he started the inning surrendering a hit by pitch and a single.
Texas Tech's Jonny Drozd notched the save after he allowed one run on three hits in 1 2/3 innings. It was his third save of the season.
The Wildcats and Red Raiders continue the three-game series on Saturday, April 12 at 3 pm. Senior Jared Moore will get the start on the mound for K-State. Texas Tech has yet to announce its starting pitcher.