MANHATTAN, Kan. (K-State Athletics) – Seven strikeouts over six innings from starter Owen Boerema and a two-run homer by Roberto Pena led K-State to a 3-2 victory over No. 14 Texas Tech at Tointon Family Stadium on Friday night.
After falling behind 2-0, the Wildcats (27-16, 10-6 Big 12) chipped their way to a one-run deficit before Pena launched his 12th home run of the season to pick up the series opener against the Red Raiders (29-14, 8-8 Big 12) to move to second in the league standings.
“That was a great college baseball game,” head coach Pete Hughes said about his team’s upset victory. “We saw two really great starts from both pitchers with great defense and in those tight games it’s either going to be a big error or a big hit that’s going to win it and we were fortunate enough to get the big hit.”
Boerema fanned seven batters to keep the game within one during his six innings to bring his season total to 76.
Ty Ruhl (3-3) picked up the victory in relief after tossing two shutout innings with a pair of strikeouts while Tyson Neighbors was credited with his eighth save of the year. The sophomore duo combined for three hitless innings with just one runner reaching second.
“Owen [Boerema] was steady to keep us in the game and our bullpen picked him up and was lights out.”
Kaelen Culpepper and Nick Goodwin each went 2-for-4 at the plate to lead the offense with Pena driving in a game-high three RBI.
Tyson Neighbors broke the K-State TrackMan-era pitch velocity record, touching 99 mph.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Texas Tech looked to quickly jump on the board in the first inning after taking advantage of two walks to load the bases, but Boerema forced a fly ball to center to end the threat.
The Wildcats defense backed the left-hander over four scoreless innings with only one runner advancing to second.
In the fifth frame, the Red Raiders tagged a pair of runs to the board after stringing together back-to-back RBI singles.
Cole Johnson responded for the Cats in the bottom of the inning as the senior from Southlake, Texas hit a single out to right field before stealing second to move into scoring position. Raphael Pelletier laid down the sac bunt where the Raiders’ starter Mason Molina couldn’t come up with the play to position runners on first and third. Pena hit a fly ball into center to plate Johnson, bridging the gap to one, 2-1.
Ruhl used 16 pitches to retire the side in the seventh after relieving Boerema in the seventh.
K-State took control in bottom of the frame as Pena launched his 12th homer of the season out to right field. After Pelletier singled to right, the senior from Caracas, Venezuela unloaded on a 3-2 pitch to put the Wildcats on top.
With a one-run lead, the Cats made the call to bring Neighbors to the mound in the ninth. The sophomore walked the first batter he faced but was picked up with a double play to stop the Red Raiders’ momentum. With two outs, the Neighbors forced a grounder to short to seal the upset victory.
INSIDE THE BOX
- K-State scored three runs on nine hits with seven left on base and no errors committed
- Pena launched his 12th homer; ties third in the Big 12
- Seven different players registered a hit, two hit multiple
- Pena produced a game-high three RBI
- Culpepper and Goodwin went 2-for-4 at the plate
- Ruhl earned the victory to move to 3-3
- Neighbors collected his eighth save; ties eighth in Cats single-season record book
- Boerema earned his 11th start on the mound
- TTU scored two runs on six hits with one error and 10 left on base
- Free (5-4) received the loss
- The Wildcats grabbed their third victory over a ranked opponent this year
- Pena is one homer away from tying seventh in K-State’s single season records
- Neighbors broke the K-State TrackMan-era pitch velocity record at 99 mph
- Johnson expanded his hit streak out to seven
- Rugely extended his on-base streak to 25 straight games followed by Day (23) and Pelletier (19)
- TTU leads the all-time series 50-33-1
- Cats are 20-17 against the Red Raiders in Manhattan
- K-State improves to 14-5 at home this season
- The Cats jump to second in the Big 12 standings at 10-6 (.625)
Game two of the Big 12 series is slated for 4 p.m. Saturday at Tointon Family Stadium. The entire series will be streamed on the Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and the ESPN app with radio coverage on News Radio KMAN (93.3 FM, 1350 AM). Live streaming audio is available for all games at KStateSports.com/watch and on the K-State Sports app.