By Chris Kutz, K-State Athletics Communications
FORT WORTH, Texas – The K-State baseball team was shut out by TCU’s Preston Morrison in a complete game effort as the Wildcats lost 5-0 to the Horned Frogs on Friday at Lupton Stadium.
The Wildcats (23-23, 4-12 Big 12) had seven hits against the TCU right-hander, but Morrison did not allow any of K-State’s nine base runners to reach third base. K-State went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
Morrison struck out seven and walked one in his fourth complete game and third shutout of the year. It was also the eighth shutout for TCU (32-13, 11-5 Big 12) in its last 16 games as well as its Big 12-best 13th shutout of the season.
“Against Morrison – and really the entire TCU pitching staff – you’re going to have limited opportunities,” said K-State head coach Brad Hill, “so it’s going to take capitalizing on a couple two-out RBI situations for us, which we had, and we just didn’t get it done.”
The TCU offense took advantage of K-State miscues to score the majority of its runs, starting with two runs in the second inning following a fielding error by K-State second baseman Carter Yagi. After Kevin Cron led off the second with a single, Garrett Crain hit a groundball at Yagi, but the ball slipped between Yagi’s legs allowing Cron to move to second and Crain occupy first. The next batter, Jerrick Suiter, hit a double to score Cron, and Dylan Fitzgerald subsequently hit a single to plate Crain and make it 2-0 TCU.
In the third, Cody Jones led off with a single, but K-State notched two quick outs after catcher Blair DeBord caught Jones stealing, and, on the next pitch, Derek Odell lined out to first base for the second out. Back-to-back hits, though, by the Horned Frogs, including a double by Cron on a fly ball K-State left fielder Max Brown lost in the sun, allowed another run to score and give TCU a 3-0 lead.
A sacrifice fly in the sixth gave TCU a 4-0 advantage, and in the seventh, with runners on first and second, TCU attempted a double steal. DeBord elected to attempt to throw out the runner trying to swipe second, but his throw hit the Horned Frogs runner, allowing Jones to score on the throwing error after he stole third base.
“Once it gets to five [runs] against these guys, you’re in trouble for the most part,” said Hill. “You’re going to have to string together a lot [of hits]. We needed to knock down a couple of those RBI situations early on. We just have to find a way to get some momentum on our side.”
RJ Santigate had two of K-State’s seven hits, including a one-out double in the first inning where he was stranded following back-to-back strikeouts. Mitch Meyer also had two hits, with his first being a single in the seventh following Shane Conlon’s leadoff walk. Conlon and Meyer later attempted a double steal on a 3-1 pitch to pinch-hitter Kyle Speer, but Conlon was thrown out at third for the first out of the inning.
K-State starting pitcher Levi MaVorhis took the loss, his sixth of the season, after allowing five runs, three earned, in 6 2/3 innings.
Wildcat reliever Jon Roblez, making his third Big 12 appearance of the season, tossed 1 1/3 shutout innings.
K-State and TCU will meet in game two of the three-game series on Saturday, May 3 at 4 pm. Right-hander Nate Griep will take the mound for K-State and face TCU’s left-hander Tyler Alexander.
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