K-State’s Season Ends in Extras at Big 12 Championship

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From K-State

Kansas’ James Cosentino delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th inning Thursday to give the fifth-seeded Jayhawks a 15-14 win over No. 8 K-State in an elimination game at the 2019 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

KU (32-25) scored all four of its runs in the 11th inning with two outs after the Wildcats (25-33) put up three in the top half of the inning. K-State catcher Chris Ceballos knocked a go-ahead single before a two-RBI double by Dylan Phillips put the Cats ahead 14-11.

“It was a battle and we fought until the very end,” head coach Pete Hughes said after the game. “They are a good team and that’s just how it goes sometimes. We are a good team and we never gave up. We never cut any corners. We always try our best and sometimes you don’t end up on top, that’s baseball. I am excited for this team. We have a great group of guys and good things will come from the years to come. Guys like this, their fingerprints are all over it.”

Phillips registered a career-high five runs batted in, including a three-run homer, and finished the season tied for the team lead with 10 home runs – a freshman record by a Wildcat. Phillips’ five RBI set a K-State single-game record at the Big 12 Championship.

Ceballos went 3-for-6 with two RBI while Spurlin finished 2-for-5. Cameron Thompson also had a three-hit day, going 3-for-6 with a double.

Six different Wildcats produced multi-hit games, as K-State matched a season high with 15 hits while scoring a season-best 14 runs.

Cosentino’s game-winning single scored Casey Burnham, capping a string of five consecutive two-out hits. Jack Wagner tied the game with a single to left field to score Casey Burnham, as KU scored four runs on six hits off reliever Caleb Littlejim.

Littlejim had held the KU offense, which had put up 11 runs over the first seven innings, scoreless on one hit over his first three innings of work before suffering the loss. Littlejim (5-4) struck out one and walked one.

K-State erased an early five-run deficit after KU jumped out to a 6-1 lead after two frames. The Cats scored 10 runs from the fourth to the sixth inning and took an 11-7 lead after a five-run sixth. Phillips lifted a three-run home run as part of a four-run fourth inning.

The Jayhawks responded with three in the sixth before tying the game with a run in the seventh. Brett Vosik’s two-run double in the sixth cut K-State’s lead to a run at 11-10.

In K-State’s three-run 11th, Littlejim led off with a single and later scored on Ceballos’ single. Ceballos and Terrence Spurlin both scored on Phillips’ one-out double.

Thompson gave the Cats an early 1-0 lead with an RBI double in the first. In the bottom half, nine Jayhawk hitters came to the plate in a five-run frame. Metcalf and Sems each recorded RBI doubles as Kansas tallied four hits to go with two walks off K-State starter Will Brennan.

Senior Mitch Zubradt would pitch the next four innings in relief – a career high – with five strikeouts. Zubradt retired eight of nine over a stretch and finished with three earned runs on six hits.

KU starting pitcher Ryan Zeferjahn went on to put down eight of the next nine he faced after yielding a first-inning run. Thompson sparked a string of four straight hits with a leadoff single in the fourth, capped by Phillips’ three-run opposite field home run, bringing the Cats within a run.

Trailing 7-6 after five innings, K-State tagged Zeferjahn with five runs on four hits in the sixth. Brennan’s two-out, two-run double put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since the top of the first.

Zeferjahn ended with nine runs allowed (eight earned) on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings.

Vosik led KU with four RBI while Skyler Messinger had a game-high four hits (4-for-6). The first seven Jayhawks in the order had multi-hit games.

K-State’s season ends at the Big 12 Baseball Championship for the first time since 2016.

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Mitch Fortner

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