The Kansas State Wildcats Baseball team has had many highs and very few lows during the course of the 2013 season. During this season of amazing wins, many of those victories have been possible because of a group of players that never get down on themselves or panic when they’re facing adversity.
Trailing Oklahoma 4-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning and held to just two hits at that point by the ace of the Sooner staff, the Wildcats got off the mat and rallied to take a 5-4 lead into the ninth inning. After the Sooners tied the game in the top of the frame with a solo home run, K-State produced another magical moment in the bottom of the inning when Tanner Witt scored the winning run on a passed ball to give K-State an incredible 6-5 victory and the outright 2013 Big 12 Conference Baseball Championship before a raucous crowd of 3,589 Friday Night at Tointon Family Stadium.
Oklahoma built up its lead against starting pitcher Levi Mavorhis with three runs in the top of the fourth inning and another in the top of the sixth. The Bat Cats came roaring back with three runs in the bottom of the sixth on Austin Fisher’s RBI single and a two-run single by Mitch Meyer. The game was tied in the bottom of the seventh inning on a Tanner Witt RBI single. Jon Davis led off the eighth inning with a triple into the right field corner….what’s more remarkable about that hit is that just two innings earlier, Davis was lying on the field writhing in pain after appeared to hyper-extend his knee in a collision with OU first baseman Matt Oberste. However, Davis managed to loosen the knee up and stayed the game. He would score on Lance Miles’ single to right to give K-State a 5-4 lead heading into the ninth.
Closer Jake Matthys who has been nearly automatic out of the bullpen showed he’s human when he gave up a one-out solo home run to Jack Mayfield tying the score once again at 5-5. Matthys settled down to get the final two outs and keep the score knotted up. Witt led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk and was sacrificed to second by Shane Conlon. After Jared King was intentionally walked, Fisher was hit by a pitch loading the bases. Davis came up to the plate once again and with a 2-1 count, the ball got away from Oklahoma catcher Anthony Hermelyn and Witt slid head first across home plate with the run that gave Kansas State its first regular season conference Baseball championship since the 1933 season touching off a wild celebration on the field and in the stands.
K-State had won an outright Missouri Valley Conference Championship in 1928 and shared titles in the Big Six Conference in 1930 and 1933. Since then there were a couple of second place finishes in the old Big 8 Conference in 1974 and in 1990 plus a third place finish in the Big 12 as recently as 2010 but no championship until Friday night.
Kansas State becomes the second Big 12 School (Texas in 2005-06) and just the third in the BCS era dating back to 1998 ( also joined by Stanford in 1999-2000) to win championships in Football, Men’s Basketball and Baseball in the same academic year.
With the title now locked down, Kansas State (38-15, 15-7) will head into next week’s Big 12 Tournament in Oklahoma City as the #1 seed. Meanwhile, there are still two games left in the regular season and the Wildcats will continue to need as many wins as possible if they wish to host and NCAA Regional for the first time ever in two weeks. The first of those games is on Saturday when Joe Flattery takes the hill for the Bat Cats. First pitch at Tointon Family Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m.
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