MANHATTAN, Kan. –K-State considered its first-ever sweep of Texas on Saturday, but the seventh-ranked Longhorns managed to pull off a 4-2 win to salvage the series finale at Tointon Family Stadium.
Texas (26-12, 6-6 Big 12) broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth when Douglas Hodo and Dylan Campbell recorded back-to-back doubles. Starter Lucas Gordon, along with relievers Luke Harrison and Aaron Nixon, combined to keep the Wildcats (17-17, 3-9 Big 12) scoreless in the final five innings of the game.
“We’re not happy with a series win, we had to play well today and we didn’t play well enough to get there,” the head coach said. Pete Hughes mentioned. “We had chances, we gave up a few weak points. When you lose like that, it makes it a bit more difficult. We haven’t scored from the fifth set on, so that makes it difficult too. It was a tough day offensively, there’s no doubt.
“This one is going to sting a bit, but you win a weekend streak and you feel good about it. It definitely gives our program some momentum going into a week where we have a lot of baseball to play, starting at Monday.”
Longhorn’s three pitchers allowed just two hits after the fourth inning. K-State hit two baserunners with one out in the seventh, but Nixon extinguished the threat by recording back-to-back outs.
Nixon recorded 2 2/3 shutout relief innings in earning his fourth save of the season. He struck out four while Gordon (3-1) hit seven of his five frames.
Seeker Justin Mitchell helped fabricate a Wildcat run in the second inning with a sacrificial fly before his RBI knockout tied the game, 2-2, in the fourth. Mitchell, who finished the day 1 for 3, started the ninth with a single.
Texas responded to Mitchell’s first RBI with a sacrificial fly, coming off Mitchell Daly’s at-bat in the third. A batter later, a two-out Wildcat error extended the frame and allowed the go-ahead to score.
In the beginning, K-State Connor McCullough had just one earned run in his five innings, striking out three and walking three.
Blake Corsentino lifted McCullough in the sixth and quickly stripped the first to Texas hitters he saw before giving up back-to-back doubles to Hodo and Campbell. Cosentino (2-4) struck out four strikes from three frames.
by Nick Goodwin The starting triple in the second inning marked the Wildcats’ only extra hit of the game. Goodwin sprinted home on Mitchell’s sacrifice fly.
K-State’s offense was reduced to one hit with two outs (1 for 10) while going 1 for 15 with runners on base. The Cats went hitless with men in scoring position, finishing 0 for 6.
On Friday, the Wildcats picked up their first conference series victory of the year, as they won three of the last four series against Texas.
MOMENTS THAT MATTER
K-State took a one-run lead when Goodwin sprinted home on a sacrifice fly from Mitchell’s bat. Goodwin started the second with a triple down the right field line, his second of the season.
A single from Trey Faltine and a brace from Austin Todd gave Texas two in the scoring position with just one on the outside. Daly raised a sacrificial fly before a Wildcat error, with two out, allowed Todd to score and give the Longhorns a one-run advantage.
Mitchell’s second run, this time via a groundout, tied the game at 2 in the fourth. Mitchell brought Dylan Phillips who placed third after going single, moving up to second on a wild pitch and stealing third.
Correntino entered the game to start the sixth and quickly retired the first two UT batters he faced. Hodo and Campbell chained back-to-back doubles to give the Longhorns their first lead of the game, 3-2.
K-State threatened to tie the game late in the seventh after Blake Adams drew a walk and Dominique Johnson chosen to put two on and one on. Nixon extinguished the inning by striking out the next two batters via a strikeout and a groundout.
An insurance run came in the top of the ninth on a fly sacrificed to Stehly’s right field.
Mitchell led the bottom of the ninth with an opposite field single, but Nixon earned his fourth save of the year by sitting the next three Wildcat batters in order.
INSIDE THE BOX
- K-State scored two runs on five hits with an error and left eight on base.
- Texas scored four runs on seven hits, made no errors, and failed eight base runners.
- Goodwin recorded K-State’s only extra hit, a starting triple in the second inning.
- The Wildcats were limited to two hits and no runs after the fourth inning.
- Mitchell was responsible for both Cats RBIs, going 1 for 3.
- McCullough allowed one earned run in his five innings, striking out three and walking three.
- Correntino suffered the loss after allowing two runs on four hits in three innings of relief.
- Gordon took the win for UT, striking out seven in five frames.
- Harrison and Nixon have combined to hold the Cats to two hits over the past four innings.
- Three Longhorn pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts and four walks.
- K-State finished 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position and 1 for 15 with men on base.
- Texas went 3 for 11 with two outs and 2 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
- The series victory marks Hughes’ fifth victory over a ranked opponent and third against a top-10 team at K-State.
- K-State has won three of the last four series against Texas.
- The Wildcats have won four of the last six games between the teams in Manhattan.
- The Cats are now 13-4 at home.
- Texas leads the all-time series 61-22-1 (51-22-1 Big 12).
- K-State is 11-24 at home against the Longhorns.
- The Cats are 3-10 against ranked teams this season and 3-7 against the top 10.
- Texas marks the weekend’s fourth straight opponent ranked in the national top 20 and third straight in the top 10.
K-State will play a pair of midweek games, traveling to Wichita State on Monday before hosting Omaha on Tuesday. Monday’s tilt with the Shockers can be seen on ESPN+ and with radio coverage on the K-State Sports Radio Network on Sirius XM Channel 375. Tuesday’s home contest with the Mavericks will air on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and on News Radio KMAN.