Kansas State Rallies Three Times for 13-9 Win
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – On a day when its normally reliable pitching and defense faltered, 15th-ranked Kansas State turned to its offense to save the day as the Wildcats fought from behind three times and used a five-run rally in the ninth to defeat Baylor, 13-9, in the second round of the 2013 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
K-State overcame nine walks from five pitchers and three errors – which led to five unearned runs – to earn its 41st victory and move to 2-0 in the championship. The No. 1-seeded Wildcats trailed 5-0, 7-4 and 9-8 heading into the top of the ninth before exploding to produce their fourth win this season in their final at-bat.
“Man, talk about perseverance, resiliency and a desire to win… it was a great job by our guys today,” said head coach Brad Hill. “It wasn’t pretty, and we walked a lot of people. We made mistakes we don’t normally make. But, offensively we really picked it up, had some great at-bats and found a way to come back.”
Kansas State improved to 41-16 on the year and picked up its eighth win in its last nine games, while the Wildcats earned their 12th victory this season when facing a deficit of at least three runs. The Wildcats will face No. 4-seed Oklahoma at 12:30 p.m., Saturday for the right to play in Sunday’s championship game. Baylor fell to 27-27 on the year and will finish its season Saturday morning against Texas Tech.
“These guys will come out (Saturday) as we have come out all year and play hard, compete and do everything you need to do to win,” Hill said. “Winning is winning. You don’t ever play to lose and that’s what we did today. I want these guys to keep feeling that way.”
After being held hitless for three innings by Baylor starter Max Garner, the Wildcat offense pounded out 12 hits in the final six innings and produced the most runs in its Big 12 Championship history. Eight batters in K-State’s lineup had at least one hit, led by Tanner Witt, Jared King, Jon Davis and Lance Miles with two apiece. Davis and Miles each collected three RBI on the day, with both producing two-run singles during the ninth-inning comeback.
Miles continued a recent hot streak in which he is hitting 9-for-22 with eight RBI in his last seven games. His three RBI Friday tied his career-high set on May 11 at Kansas.
Gerardo Esquivel (1-2) earned the win by tossing 1.2 scoreless innings, but the right-hander was on the hook for a loss after hitting Cal Towey with a pitch with the bases loaded to give the Bears a 9-8 lead in the bottom of the eighth. But as they did earlier in the game, the Wildcats rallied with one out in the ninth when Davis singled home two runs after the previous three batters reached base.
With two outs and the bases loaded again, RJ Santigate cued an infield single to plate the third run of the frame before Miles delivered a single up the middle for two more runs to cap the frame.
“It’s tough knowing that this game didn’t necessarily matter towards our advancement in this tournament,” King said. “It’s hard to come back from a 5-0 deficit. I honestly don’t think that anyone was worried that we were down 5-0. If we are playing baseball and we are playing for K-State, no matter if we need to win or not, we are going to try to win as hard as we can.”
Baylor relief pitcher Josh Michalec (4-5) suffered the loss by allowing the first two ninth-inning runs.
The Bears jumped out to a 5-0 lead through three innings, including three unearned runs in the third. K-State battled back with four runs the in the fourth as the first four Wildcats recorded a hit, including a RBI single by King and a run-scoring double by Davis. After Blair DeBord delivered a run on a ground out, Davis scored on a wild pitch to get the Cats within one at 5-4.
Baylor quickly answered with two more unearned runs in its half of the inning to rebuild its lead to 7-4. The Wildcats produced another four-run inning in the sixth – which was capped by Ross Kivett’s two-out, two-run double – to take an 8-7 lead. But in the see-saw three and 1/2-hour game, the Bears tied the game in the sixth inning on a wild pitch.
Baylor was paced offensively by Steve DalPorto, who went 2-for-3 with three RBI, while Logan Brown went 2-for-5 and scored three runs.
No. 1-seed Kansas State concludes Pool One play at 12:30 p.m., Saturday against fourth-seeded Oklahoma. The game can be seen nationally on Fox College Sports Central and heard on both the K-State Sports Network and www.k-statesports.com.