Wicks Shuts Down No. 14 Texas, K-State Clinches Series

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From K-State Athletics

K-State freshman Jordan Wicks threw a five-hit shutout of No. 14 Texas Sunday in the series’ rubber game, 2-0, to give the Wildcats the three-game series over the Longhorns at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

“We’ve been saying from Day 1, this kid has character through the roof, and he allows you to win a series,” head coach Pete Hughes said. “He allows you to pitch comfortably in big venues and pitch effectively in pressure situation. That’s what character brings and that’s what he has.”

Wicks tossed the first complete game of his career and the first shutout of Texas in K-State history. The Wildcats (16-21, 3-6 Big 12) picked up the program’s second-ever road series win over a ranked team and first since doing so at Texas in 2009.

The freshman lefty struck out five and retired 11 straight hitters before a leadoff single by Ryan Reynolds in the bottom of the ninth. The Conway, Arkansas, walked a career-high four batters – all in the first two innings. Four of his strikeouts came over the final two innings.

Wicks worked around baserunners each of his first five innings pitched, as he stranded nine hitters while limiting Texas (23-15, 5-6 Big 12) to 1-for-11 with runners on base through five frames. Reynolds’ ninth-inning single was the only baserunner allowed by Wicks after the fifth inning, as he put down 14 of the last 15 Longhorns he faced.

“I was worried about him the first couple innings,” added Hughes. “He was up in the zone and the ball wasn’t jumping out of his hand. His changeup was an average pitch and that’s his best pitch. He made the right adjustments and it’s really hard for me to take that kid out of the game when he wants to win it as bad as anybody.”

Cameron Thompson handed Wicks an early 1-0 lead as he hit a leadoff homer on the second pitch of the ballgame delivered by Coy Cobb. The home run was Thompson’s first of the year and the second leadoff homer hit by a Wildcat this season.

“He set the tone,” said Hughes of Thompson’s leadoff home run. “He set the tone of a series-deciding day did Cam, so good for him. And senior Rainer Ausmus getting a safety squeeze down and getting us a two-run margin.

“But good team weekend and proud of our guys for hanging with the process and believing in each other. They got the win on the road in a tough venue.”

K-State chased Cobb after two innings after he faced 10 hitters and allowed a run on three hits while hitting a batter.

Chris Ceballos led off the fourth inning with a double and later scored on a safety squeeze laid down by Ausmus to double the Cats’ lead at 2-0. Ceballos stood on third after a single by Terrence Spurlin.

Thompson led the Wildcats, going 2-for-4. Thomas Hughes and Zach Kokoska also singled for K-State.

Texas relievers Tristan Stevens and Cole Quintanilla combined to hold the Cats hitless over the last 4 1/3 innings, striking out eight with two walks.

Wicks limited UT to 1-for-10 with two outs and 1-for-14 with runners on base.

Reynolds went 2-for-3 with a double to lead the Longhorns.

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Mitch Fortner

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