Cats drop TCU, inch closer to first

By Brady Bauman

Earlier in the day Saturday, Kansas State Wildcats fans were washed in offense as the football team racked up 79 points during its annual spring game at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

Later in the afternoon, K-State fans were drenched in defense across the parking lot in Tointon Family Stadium where the Wildcats defeated TCU 2-1, improving to 9-5 in Big 12 play and 31-13 overall.

K-State is now one game back from first-place Oklahoma.

“That was just a great, a well-pitched ball-game,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “(TCU’s) guy was outstanding and we matched it on him.”

Sophomore Matt Wivinis improved his record to 6-1 as a starter for K-State and freshman Jake Matthys earned his fourth save of the season.

Senior Joe Flattery relieved Wivinis in the fourth and sophomore Nate Williams followed in the seventh and eighth.

TCU’s Brandon Finnegan, a second year pitcher, tossed all of the Horned Frogs’ innings.

“Flattery pitched through big-time pressure situations, as did Nate,” Hill said. “Again, we had to match them pitching-wise today, and fortunately we did.”

TCU (19-23, 7-10) struck first with an RBI single to right by senior third baseman Jantzen Witte in the top of the first, but K-State answered in the bottom of the frame with an RBI double by first baseman Shane Conlon. Finnegan shook it off, though, and struck out the Wildcats’ next two batters swinging.

In the top of the second, Wivinis took out TCU in order and in the bottom of the inning, freshman designated hitterClayton Dalrymple singled to the shortstop and scored Austin Fisher from third after a wild pitch and a TCU error gave the Wildcats base runners.

From there, though, it was a pitchers duel between K-State’s bullpen and Finnegan.

Wivinis again notched a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the third and and Flattery, Williams and Matthys combined for just six hits, one walk and six strikeouts the rest of the way.

“We just want to keep stacking good performances upon good performances,” Hill said. “We’re not really concerned about anything. We just want to come out and do what we’re doing — competing hard and being selfless like we have been.

“Today could have went either way, but it was just a great baseball game and we were the fortunate one to come out on top.”

Nearly 3,000 were in attendance Saturday afternoon to not only enjoy the game, but also the blue skies and sunny, 70-degree weather.

Hill enjoyed the fans’ support, as K-State athletics looks toward the possibility of a third conference title this season.

“It was a beautiful day out and there was a lot of good pitching they saw today, so if they wanted to see offense they didn’t see it,” Hill laughed. “Hopefully, they enjoyed it. Baseball is pretty cool when you have a well-pitched game like that.”

K-State — which is receiving votes in the coaches’ Top 25 poll — could turn on the offensive fireworks today, as it concludes the series at 11 a.m. in Tointon. The Wildcats went into this weekend leading the nation in batting average at a clip of .333.

Wildcats open weekend series with 6-1 win

A two-run double by Jared King in the sixth inning broke open a tight pitchers’ duel, helping freshman right-hander Levi MaVorhis earn a victory in his first-career start as K-State won the series opener over TCU, 6-1, Friday night at Tointon Family Stadium.

With the win, K-State improved to 30-13, reaching the 30-win mark for the seventh time in the last nine years.

The Wildcats, who are now 8-5 in Big 12 play, became the second-fasted team in school history to reach the 30-win plateau, just one day shy of the 2009 squad. TCU fell to 19-22 overall and 7-9 in league play.

Holding a 1-0 lead in the sixth inning, Tanner Witt and Shane Conlon produced consecutive one-out singles before King laced the third pitch he saw from Preston Morrison (6-2) into the left-center field gap.

K-State added another run in the inning on an error to take a four-run advantage and never looked back.

“He’s really good,” Hill said of Morrison. “Our guys did a pretty good job. We competed and didn’t give them a lot of easy outs. Some guys did some good things, and it’s not always the things that show up in the box score. Obviously, Jared had the big two-run RBI double that took a lot of pressure off.”

MaVorhis (4-0) tossed a career-high 5 1/3 scoreless innings with a walk and a strikeout. The Freeland, Wash., product, who made 16 appearances out of the bullpen prior to Friday, worked around eight hits — four of which did not leave the infield — as he forced the Horned Frogs to ground into a pair of double plays and strand five base runners.

“He had great composure on the mound,” Hill said. “He allowed leadoff hitters to reach four innings but induced ground balls. He didn’t get rattled or try to overthrow. The things you see a lot of kids do, he didn’t do tonight.”

King led five Wildcats who had two hits in the game, as he added a run-scoring single in the eighth inning to record his team-leading ninth multi-RBI contest. Ross Kivett, who picked up his 19th multi-hit game of the year, singled home the first run of the night in the third inning.

Morrison allowed four runs on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings as he took only his second loss of the season. The right-hander surrendered three earned runs after carrying a 1.06 ERA entering the contest.

Three TCU hitters recorded two-hit games, including second baseman Paul Hendrix, who drove in the lone Horned Frog run on an eighth-inning sacrifice fly.

The Wildcats scored six runs against the second-best pitching staff in the league, while their 11-hit output marked the 32nd game with 10 or more hits this season.

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