K-State's Tanner DeVinny steps up to the plate against Kansas at Tointon Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kansas on April 5, 2014. (Scott D. Weaver/K-State Athletics)
LUBBOCK, Texas – The K-State baseball team scored three runs in the top of the first inning, but Texas Tech whittled down the early Wildcats lead and came back to defeat K-State 7-4 on Saturday at Rip Griffin Park.
K-State (20-15, 2-6 Big 12) had three of its first four batters in the game score, but Texas Tech (27-11, 7-7 Big 12), led by its starting pitcher Chris Sadberry and reliever Corey Taylor, limited the Wildcats to two hits and one run in the final eight frames.
“The first inning was fierce and competitive, and we were getting after it,” said K-State head coach Brad Hill. “Then, the next inning, we didn’t do anything. It felt like we were done. After that, everything got magnified. All of sudden, they started creeping back into it, and we made a couple mistakes pitching-wise that they got a hold of. When it was tied back up, we couldn’t get back any energy or flow, particularly from an offensive standpoint.”
K-State scored its first of three runs in the first when Ross Kivett, who led off the game with a single, scored on a fielding error by Texas Tech third baseman Alec Humphreys during Kivett’s steal attempt. Austin Fisher later plated Shane Conlon with a sacrifice fly, and Tyler Stover drove in RJ Santigate with a single to make it 3-0 Wildcats.
Sadberry, who did not factor into the decision, held the Wildcats hitless in the final four of his five total innings pitched. Taylor limited the Wildcats to two hits in four relief innings, helping the right-hander pick up his fifth win of the season.
Texas Tech began draining the Wildcats’ lead in the second inning when Adam Kirsch hit a solo home run to left field off K-State starting pitcher Jared Moore. It was Moore’s first home run allowed since May 19, 2013 against Oklahoma.
Moore surrendered back-to-back doubles to start the fourth inning to help bring home the first of two Texas Tech runs. The left-hander later surrendered an RBI single to Jake Barrios that tied the game at 3-3.
After K-State regained the lead with one run in the top of the fifth, Moore started the bottom half of the frame, but was lifted after he surrendered a leadoff double to Tyler Floyd. Jake Fromson spelled Moore, but following a sacrifice bunt by Stephen Smith, Fromson surrendered an RBI single by Bryant Burleson that tied the game at 4-4.
The Red Raiders scored the three game-deciding runs in the seventh, which were all charged to K-State reliever Jake Whaley. The Wildcat right-hander did not record an out against the three batters he faced, with the first batter, Floyd, drawing a walk. Floyd was substituted for by pinch runner Zach Davis, who scored the game-winning run on a single by Burleson. Davis advanced to second on a Whaley balk and went to third on a Whaley fielding error on a sacrifice bunt attempt by Smith.
Whaley took the loss after being responsible for three runs, one earned, and allowing a hit and a walk.
Kivett scored the Wildcats’ fourth run in the fifth when Fisher grounded into a double play. Kivett, who led off the fifth with one of his two walks, reached base in all four of his plate appearances to go along with a career-high tying three stolen bases.
No Wildcat had more than one hit in the game as K-State recorded six hits total.
Moore did not factor into the decision, but he did match his career-high with five strikeouts.
The defeat for K-State results in its third series loss in Big 12 action this season after the Wildcats lost game one of the series against the Red Raiders on Friday, 4-3. It is also the first time the Wildcats have lost back-to-back games against the Red Raiders since April 1-2, 2010.
K-State will look to avoid the sweep on Sunday at 1 pm in the third and final game of the series. Redshirt freshman Nate Griep will take the bump for K-State. Texas Tech, which moved its original Sunday starter Sadberry to Saturday’s game, has yet to announce its starting pitcher in the series finale.