COLUMBIA, Mo. – Missouri erased a three-run deficit with two in the seventh and two more in the ninth, including the final run on a bases-loaded walk, as the Tigers came from behind to defeat Kansas State, 4-3, Saturday afternoon at Taylor Stadium.
With the win, Missouri won the series and improved to 20-17 overall and 5-9 in Big 12 play. K-State fell to 19-20 on the year and 3-11 in conference action as the Wildcats will try to avoid a second-straight sweep Sunday afternoon.
Gerardo Esquivel got K-State out of a tight situation in the in the sixth inning with two on as he induced a fly out to keep the Wildcat lead at three. The Tiger seventh inning began with a leadoff error by second baseman Ross Kivett and, following a fly out, two singles were sandwiched around a sacrifice fly to pull Missouri to within a run.
Esquivel worked around a leadoff walk in the eighth as Matt Wivinis came out of the K-State bullpen to begin the ninth. The freshman walked the first man he faced before a sacrifice bunt moved to the tying run into scoring position. The Wildcats then turned to freshman right-hander Nate Williams, who recorded a fly out and a strikeout to keep the score 3-2.
After K-State went down in order in the ninth, Blake Brown singled off Williams (0-3) on the first pitch of the inning. Attempting to get the tying run into scoring position, Andreas Plackis laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Williams’ throw was wide of first base, putting runners on the corners with no outs.
Dane Opel was next and singled up the middle on a 2-2 pitch to tie the game. Williams then issued a walk to load the bases, but the right-hander settled in with two strikeouts, including one against senior Connor Mach, to get the within an out of sending the game into extra innings.
Facing Brannon Champagne, Williams worked ahead in the count at 1-2. The right-hander threw a ball outside of the strike zone and, after a foul ball, Williams narrowly missed his third consecutive strikeout of the inning as a pitch was ruled out down and in. Needing to throw a strike, Williams’ full-count fastball missed the zone for the walk-off walk.
Errors hurt the Wildcats for a second-straight day as, after three errors on Friday night, K-State recorded two in the final three innings. Kansas State looked sharp on defense early in the game as it recorded three double plays, which tied a season high, but misplayed the two balls in the later stages of the game.
Williams suffered his third loss of the year – all coming in Big 12 play – as he allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Missouri left-hander Dusty Ross (2-0), who recorded the final two outs of the Wildcat ninth inning, earned the win.
The loss spoiled a solid outing by starter Joe Flattery, who pitched 5.2 scoreless innings and worked around four hits and four walks with four strikeouts. He was aided by the three double plays, while the left-hander caught Missouri stealing to end both the first and fourth innings.
K-State had three players collect multi-hit games as Tanner Witt, Blair DeBord and Jon Davis tallied two hits apiece. Brown and Sal Belfonte also led the Tigers with two hits, while Opel drove in two runs.
The Wildcats jumped on top in the first inning with a RBI single to right-field by DeBord. After four scoreless frames, K-State loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth before Davis singled to right field to extend the lead to two. RJ Santiagte then hit a pinch-hit sacrifice fly against newly interested right-hander Jeff Emens, giving K-State a 3-0 lead. Emens proceeded to hit Austin Fisher to load the bases yet again, but he forced Jake Brown to ground into an inning-ending double play, which gave the Tigers life.
(Story courtesy of KStateSports.com)
NEXT GAME: Sunday, April 22 at Missouri (20-17, 5-9)
K-State concludes its three-game series with Missouri on Sunday in Columbia, Mo. The game can be heard in the Manhattan, Kan., area on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN and online at 1350kman.com. KMAN’s own Matt Walters will have the call alongside Ryan Lackey. Coverage on KMAN begins at 12:30 p.m. with the BD4 Distributing Pregame Show. First pitch from Taylor Stadium is set for 1 p.m.