Kansas State head baseball coach Brad Hill said he knew his team was going to need plenty of offensive fireworks to beat the Texas Longhorns.
And while the Wildcats did muster some oohs and awes from time to time, the 21st-ranked Longhorns still took the three-game series.
K-State lost to Texas 8-5 on Sunday afternoon in Tointon Family Stadium.
Although the Wildcats (13-10, 2-4) opened the series with a 5-2 win Friday night, the Longhorns (13-9, 5-1) survived an 11-inning contest Saturday and took the series with a strong finish in Sunday’s finale.
“We made a little bit of a run, but it wasn’t enough,” Hill said. “I told our guys today it’s going to take eight, nine or 10 runs today to win. I challenged them to get there, but we only got halfway.”
Texas took an early 4-1 lead going into the bottom of the fifth, but the Wildcats responded.
Left fielder Tanner Witt led off with a double to right-center and a single by second baseman Ross Kivett up the middle scored Witt. Shortstop Jake Brown drew a walk and Longhorns head coach Augie Garrido relieved starting pitcher Ricky Jacquez.
The Wildcats didn’t miss a beat.
Center fielder Jared King worked the count full and drew a walk on UT reliever Hoby Milner to juice the bases for K-State. While first baseman Wade Hinkle struck out swinging, it was the first out of the inning for the Wildcats and Matt Giller avenged his teammate with an RBI single to right field.
KSU scored its third run of the inning when right-fielder Mike Kindel fought the Milner to a full count and was hit by a pitch with the bases still full.
A foul out and a ground out ended the inning, but the Wildcats were within a run of the Longhorns.
Both teams were scoreless in the sixth inning, but Texas was strong in the top of the seventh with a two-run double by Erich Weiss. Although K-State got back within a run in the bottom of the eighth with a RBI triple by King, the Longhorns answered again with another big at-bat by Weiss that resulted in the game’s second home run — the first by Hinkle in the second inning. A double by first baseman Alex Silver extended the Texas lead to 8-5.
K-State couldn’t match the fireworks in the bottom of the frame.
Starting pitcher Kayvon Bahramzadeh threw the first three innings for the Wildcats. The senior right-hander gave up four runs on seven hits, had no walks and struck out four. Freshman Matt Wivinis pitched the next three innings and had no runs on three hits with no walks and retired one batter. Robert Youngdahl, Gerardo Esquuivel, Jared Moore and Witt finished the game on the mound for K-State.
“(It’s about) the pressure of the game,” Hill said. “(It’s about) who handled the pressure of the game better and (Texas) handled it better. They handled it better offensively. They got the swings, we didn’t make the pitches. We made mistakes and they were ready to hit them.
“We had a couple opportunities and we let them off the hook, and we didn’t handle the pressure of the hitting part of it.”
Hill continued that losing back-to-back weekend series after starting them off with Friday-night wins is frustrating.
“That’s a pretty good team over there (in Texas),” Hill said. “But I’m disappointed, no question about it. We’ve won two Fridays in a row and those are the only two wins we’ve got, so it’s pretty disappointing.”
Jacquez began the game for the Longhorns giving up four runs on five hits with three walks and five strike outs. Milner got the win for Texas, though, and Corey Knebel — who picked up the win Saturday — got the save.
On the offensive side of the ledger, Kivett highlighted K-State with a 3-for-4 outing, including an RBI, a walk and two runs scored.
Jonathan Walsh and Weiss were the top bats for Texas. Walsh was 4-for-5 with three RBIs and a run scored, while Weiss — the former Big 12 Freshman of the Year — was 3-for-4 with two HRs, four RBIs and four runs scored.
K-State will continue play Tuesday with a road match-up at Nebraska.
TEXAS 8, K-STATE 5
Texas 2 0 2 0 0 0 2 0 2 — 8 16 0
K-State 0 1 0 0 3 0 0 1 0 — 5 10 0
WP — Milner (4-3). LP — Youngdahl (0-1). Save — Knebel (5).
2B — Texas 3 (Walsh 2, Silver). K-State 1 (Witt). 3B — Texas 2 (Etier, Weiss). K-State 1 (King). HR — Texas 2 (Weiss). K-State 1 (Hinkle).