By Chris Kutz, K-State Athletics Communications
FORT WORTH, Texas – The K-State baseball team allowed three two-out runs in the fourth inning, giving No. 13 TCU the only runs needed in the Wildcats’ 3-1 loss at Lupton Stadium on Saturday.
K-State starting pitcher Nate Griep allowed a leadoff single in the fourth but quickly retired the next two batters to bring the Wildcats (23-24, 4-13 Big 12) within one out of escaping the frame. Griep, however, walked Jerrick Suiter on four pitches and then surrendered an RBI single to Dylan Fitzgerald to tie the game at 1-1. Griep was lifted in favor of reliever Jake Fromson, but the K-State right-hander allowed a two-run triple to Keaton Jones that gave TCU (33-13, 12-5) the game-deciding runs.
Saturday’s result extends K-State’s losing streak to five games and lengthens TCU’s winning streak to 11 games.
Ross Kivett led off the game with a home run, his team-leading fourth roundtripper of the season, but K-State had two of its four hits after the first inning as TCU’s pitching staff, led by starter Tyler Alexander, contained the Wildcats.
Alexander allowed all four hits and struck out five in his seven-plus innings to earn his sixth win of the season. Riley Ferrell notched his 11th save after holding the Wildcats hitless in 1 1/3 innings.
The Wildcats only had one runner in scoring position in the game, which was Austin Fisher, who led off the top of the fourth with a single. He later advanced to second base on a groundout by Shane Conlon, but a groundout by Blair DeBord stranded Fisher at second.
K-State left three runners on base while TCU stranded seven.
Fisher was the only Wildcat with multiple hits as he went 2-for-4. The junior is 3-for-8 in the first two games of the series.
Mitch Meyer, who also has three hits in the series, had the fourth and final K-State hit when he led off the eighth with a single off Alexander. TCU brought in Trey Teakell to replace Alexander, and the right-hander struck out the only two batters he faced before the Horned Frogs spelled Teakell with Ferrell.
K-State neutralized TCU’s nine hits and four base on balls with the help of two pickoffs and a pickoff/caught stealing. TCU had runners on base in seven of the eight innings, but Griep and catcher Blair DeBord had a pickoff to end the first and eighth inning, respectively. Griep added another pickoff in the second inning for the frame’s first out.
Griep took the loss, his fifth straight, after he allowed three runs on four hits. The redshirt freshman also walked three.
The K-State bullpen was not responsible for any runs in a combined 4 1/3 innings. Ethan Landon threw 2 2/3 shutout innings and allowed three hits in relief of Fromson.
K-State will look to capture a win in the series with the series finale on Sunday, May 4 at 1 pm. Right-hander Jake Matthys will make his first start of the season for K-State. TCU has yet to announce its starting pitcher.
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