MANHATTAN, Kan. – Ross Kivett hit a two-out, two-run single to plate the eventual game-winning runs in a five-run sixth inning, helping the K-State baseball team come back to beat Baylor 8-2 on Thursday at Tointon Family Stadium.
The Wildcats (21-17, 3-7 Big 12) trailed 2-1 entering the bottom of the sixth, but an error by Baylor (17-20, 4-8 Big 12) on a bunt by Max Brown helped score the game-tying run before Kivett’s single set off three-straight two-out RBI hits for the Wildcats in the crooked sixth.
“We just got a big break on the bunt, on the error, but [Baylor] came back and punched two guys out,” said K-State head coach Brad Hill. “Now we are back on pins and needles wondering what is going to happen. Ross [Kivett] comes up with a huge hit for us, and it seemed to loosen us up a little bit.”
The win snapped K-State’s four-game losing streak. It was also the Wildcats’ first win when trailing after five innings since March 9 vs. Iowa (W, 12-8).
K-State starting pitcher Levi MaVorhis held Baylor to two runs in eight innings to earn his fifth win of the season. The right-hander allowed both runs and five of his seven hits in the first three innings.
“I am glad [MaVorhis] really settled in; it was a good job by him,” said Hill. “Good pitchers tend to do that sometimes. You kind of battle - you aren’t really sharp - and then you just find it. He found it by the fourth inning and started to get more ground balls and get ahead in counts.”
After MaVorhis retired nine of the 11 batters he faced in the fourth through sixth innings, back-to-back singles by Tyler Stover and Blair DeBord ignited the K-State rally in the bottom of the sixth. Brown dropped down a bunt following DeBord’s base hit, but Baylor starting pitcher, Brad Kuntz, made an errant throw in an attempt to force out Stover at third base. The ball sailed into foul territory, allowing Stover to score and tie the game at 2-2 as well as move DeBord and Brown to third and second base, respectively.
Baylor spelled Kuntz with Sean Spicer after Kuntz’s two-base error. The right-hander struck out Taylor Anderson and Clayton Dalrymple to record the first two outs of the sixth, and he worked a full count against Kivett before the K-State senior plated the eventual game-deciding runs with the single up the middle.
After Kivett stole second and third, RJ Santigate hit an infield single to score Kivett, and Austin Fisher doubled home Santigate, who stole second base, to make it 6-2 K-State.
In the seventh, Brown hit his first career home run, a two-run shot to left field off Baylor’s Bobby McCormack, to make it 8-2 Wildcats. McCormack entered the game to start the seventh and issued a walk to DeBord before surrendering the roundtripper to Brown.
K-State had 11 hits, opposed to Baylor’s seven, and was paced by a career-high three hits from Stover. The freshman had two singles and a double. Kivett, Fisher, and Brown also added multi-hit efforts with two hits apiece.
Kivett had three stolen bases, which was the second time in the last four games that Kivett matched his career-high for steals in a game with three. The second baseman leads K-State with 16 steals this season.
Baylor grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first inning when it put runners at first and third base with two outs. Duncan Wendel attempted to steal second base, drawing a throw from K-State catcher Blair DeBord for a 2-4-3 caught stealing. However, Adam Toth, who was standing at third base prior to the steal attempt, broke for home and scored the run before Wendel was tagged out in a rundown during his caught stealing.
The Bears scored their second run in the third inning when Logan Brown hit a one-out single, stole second base, and scored on Lawton Langford’s RBI single to make 2-0 Baylor.
MaVorhis limited Baylor after the third inning, though, to two hits and no runs in his final five innings of work. The right-hander threw a season-high 120 pitches, 76 for strikes.
Kuntz took the loss for Baylor as the left-hander surrendered six hits and four runs, one earned, in five innings. He struck out seven, including four in the first two innings.
Jake Whaley threw a scoreless ninth inning for K-State. The right-hander struck out two and walked one.
K-State and Baylor face off in game two of the three-game set on Friday, April 18 at 6:30 pm. Freshman Jordan Floyd will make his first career start for K-State. Baylor will send right-hander Dillon Newman to the mound for the start.