MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State scored six runs in the fifth inning to break open a 1-1 tie as the Wildcats went on to sweep Texas Tech with a 12-2 run-rule victory Sunday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.
K-State captured a perfect 5-0 week with the win, improving to 23-10 overall and 6-3 in Big 12 play. The Wildcats have now swept Texas Tech at home in consecutive series and have won nine of their last 10 games against the Red Raiders. Kansas State also improved to 19-5 at home this season.
Texas Tech fell to 17-17 overall and 4-8 in conference action.
In a pitcher’s duel between K-State’s Blake McFadden (3-1) and Texas Tech’s Corey Taylor (2-4) over the first four innings, the Wildcats batted around in their six-run fifth to take a 7-1 lead. Blair DeBord put the Wildcats on top with a RBI single before Mitch Meyer hit his third triple of the year into right-center field to make the score 3-1.
Following a walk, Tanner Witt’s team-leading seventh sacrifice fly of the year and a hit-by-pitch, Jared King, RJ Santigate and Jon Davis each registered two-out RBI singles to give K-State its six-run advantage.
The Wildcats rolled from there as they plated three in the seventh inning, including a two-out, two-run double off the bat of Austin Fisher. In the eighth, Shane Conlon hit his team-leading sixth home run of the year, a two-run shot to left field that ended the game via a run rule.
Led by Conlon’s 2-for-3, three-RBI performance, all nine Wildcats had a hit and eight drove in at least a run. Sunday’s offensive output capped a weekend that saw K-State register 45 hits and score 33 runs, including a total of 15 two-out RBI.
“It was a good week of baseball for us,” head coach Brad Hill said. “It was a good offensive weekend. Our nemesis has been trying to drive runs in. We did a much better job of that. We were very aggressive on the bases, which creates offense and better pitches for us to hit.”
McFadden was brilliant in his first-career Big 12 start as the freshman allowed only one run while working around five hits and three walks in five innings of work. The only run to score off the right-hander came on a Tyler Neslony sacrifice fly in the second inning.
“Blake did a good job,” Hill said of the Savannah, Mo., product. “He was throwing strikes. He had leadoff walks, but I thought he came back and avoided the big inning. He did not allow the big inning to happen, and that’s what’s important.”
Texas Tech did score a run off Nate Williams in the seventh inning on a triple by Jake Barrios to pull the Red Raiders to within five at 7-2. Following a one-out hit-by-pitch, Levi MaVorhis entered the game with runners on the corners and produced two outs to shut down Texas Tech before Jake Matthys tossed a scoreless eighth inning.
The four Wildcat pitchers forced Texas Tech to strand 13 runners, including six in scoring position. After allowing five runs on Friday night, the K-State pitching staff surrendered only four (three earned) in the final two games of the series.
Conlon was one of five Wildcats to register two-hit ballgames, joining Witt, Davis, Fisher and DeBord. Davis had two RBI as he was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the seventh inning along with his run-scoring single in the fifth. His hit-by-pitch was the 14th of the season, moving him into a tie for seventh place in K-State history.
Fisher, who drove in the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth on Friday, produced his second two-RBI game of the series.
With Sunday’s attendance of 1,240, Kansas State drew 7,056 fans to Tointon Family Stadium during the weekend, the fourth-most since the stadium was renovated prior to the 2002 season.
“The crowds were tremendous all weekend,” Hill said. “It’s too bad we’re down to just seven games left at home. You hope people continue to come out these last seven games and support us.”
Kansas State completes a six-game homestand Tuesday with a 6:30 p.m., contest against Wichita State at Tointon Family Stadium. A pregame tailgate, which features multiple food and beverage items, begins at 5:30 p.m., in the southwest lawn area of the stadium grounds. The game also serves as a T-Shirt Tuesday with free t-shirts available to the first 100 fans, while popcorn, pretzels and candy is available for only $1.