WACO, Texas (K-State Athletics) – Baylor plated eight runs in the sixth to win the opening weekend of Big 12 action as K-State fell 8-4 on Sunday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark.
“You have to have nine full innings of solid baseball in this conference to win especially on the road,” said Pete Hughes.
Despite holding a 4-0 lead heading into the sixth inning, Baylor (8-12, 2-1 Big 12) scored eight unanswered runs to claim their third straight series in Waco against the Wildcats (13-7, 1-2 Big 12).
“German [Fajardo] gave us a winning start and we couldn’t expand an early lead and finish the game. We squandered opportunities. We need to be better, and we will be better.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
After a scoreless first inning, the Cats jumped on the board as Raphael Pelletier and Cash Rugely laced a pair of hits out to right to position runners in scoring position. Roberto Pena grounded out to short to score Pelletier from third before K-State plated the second run after taking advantage of a dropped fly ball in left.
The Bears led off the bottom of the second with a single from Cole Posey but the junior was left stranded as the Cats shutdown Baylor in order including back-to-back strikeouts from German Fajardo.
Nick Goodwin walked on four straight pitches to start the third inning before moving to third on a throwing error from behind the plate. Cole Johnson singled into center to drive in Goodwin, extending the lead out to three, 3-0.
Senior Cash Rugely continued the Cats hot start as the Round Rock, Texas product launched his fifth home run of the season and the first of the series to plate the Cats final run.
With the Cats leading 4-0, Baylor’s offense came alive in the sixth as the Bears scored eight runs to turn the game in their favor. The Bears landed runners on first and second before reliever Ty Ruhl hit back-to-back batters to give Baylor its first run of the game. Baylor trimmed the Cats lead to one after scoring two on a fielding error at third until the Bears strung together four hits to take the lead, 8-4.
The Cats were held to just one hit over the next five innings as Rugely attempted to start a ninth-inning rally with a single into center but the Bears closer Hambleton Oliver forced three straight outs to secure the comeback victory.
Ruhl was credited his first loss of the season moving to 1-1 during his 1/3 innings. Will Rigney (2-0) was awarded the series victory throwing three perfect innings with six strikeouts while Hambleton Oliver received the save.
INSIDE THE BOX
- K-State was held to six hits with two errors and six left on base
- Fajardo tossed 5 1/3 innings with two runs (two earned) on six four hits with six strikeouts
- The Wildcats bullpen allowed six runs (one earned) during 2 2/3 innings with six hits, four strikeouts and one walk
- Rugely went 3-for-4 at the plate to lead the offense with two runs and an RBI
- The Bears grabbed their first series win against the Cats since 2021
- Rugely’s home run move him to first on the Wildcat leaderboard with five total
- K-State’s pitching staff hit a season-high four batters on Sunday; five overall in the series
- Baylor leads the all-time series 55-33 and 33-11 inside Baylor Ballpark
The Wildcats return to Manhattan on Tuesday, March 21 to open a five-game homestand starting with a non-conference series against St. Thomas (1-12, 0-3 Summit). Following the series against the Tommies, K-State will return to Big 12 play to host Oklahoma (12-7, 1-1 Big 12) on March 24-26.