Tigers rally to edge Wildcats, 4-3

By The Mercury

COLUMBIA, Mo. —  Missouri erased a three-run deficit with two in the seventh and two more in the ninth — including the final run on a bases-loaded walk — as the Tigers came from behind to defeat Kansas State 4-3 on Saturday at Taylor Stadium.

With the win, Missouri won the series and improved to 20-17 overall and 5-9 in Big 12 play.

K-State fell to 19-20 on the year and 3-11 in conference action as the Wildcats will try to avoid a second straight sweep this afternoon.

Gerardo Esquivel got K-State out of a tight situation in the in the sixth inning with two on as he induced a flyout to keep the Wildcats’ lead at three. The Tigers’ seventh inning began with a leadoff error by second baseman Ross Kivett and, following a flyout, two singles were sandwiched around a sacrifice fly to pull Missouri within a run.

Esquivel worked around a leadoff walk in the eighth, as Matt Wivinis came out of the K-State bullpen to begin the ninth. The freshman walked the first man he faced before a sacrifice bunt moved to the tying run into scoring position. The Wildcats then turned to freshman right-hander Nate Williams, who recorded a flyout and a strikeout to keep the score at 3-2.

After K-State went down in order in the ninth, Blake Brown singled off Williams (0-3) on the first pitch of the inning. Attempting to get the tying run into scoring position, Andreas Plackis laid down a sacrifice bunt, but Williams’ throw was wide of first base, putting runners on the corners with no outs.

Dane Opel was next and singled up the middle on a 2-2 pitch to tie the game.

Williams then issued a walk to load the bases, but the right-hander settled in with two strikeouts, including one against senior Connor Mach, to get the within an out of sending the game into extra innings.

Facing Brannon Champagne, Williams worked ahead in the count at 1-2. The right-hander threw a ball outside of the strike zone and, after a foul ball, Williams narrowly missed his third consecutive strikeout of the inning as a pitch was ruled out down and in.

Needing to throw a strike, Williams’ full-count fastball missed the zone for the walk-off walk.

Errors hurt the Wildcats for a second straight day as, after three errors on Friday night, K-State recorded two in the final three innings.

K-State looked sharp on defense early in the game as it recorded three double plays that tied a season high, but misplayed the two balls in the later stages of the game.

Williams suffered his third loss of the year — all coming in Big 12 play — as he allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Missouri left-hander Dusty Ross (2-0), who recorded the final two outs of the Wildcat ninth inning, earned the win.

The loss spoiled a solid outing by starter Joe Flattery, who pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings and worked around four hits and four walks with four strikeouts.

Flattery was aided by the three double plays, while the left-hander caught Missouri stealing to end both the first and fourth innings.

K-State had three players collect multi-hit games as Tanner Witt, Blair DeBord and Jon Davis tallied two hits apiece.  Brown and Sal Belfonte also led the Tigers with two hits, while Opel drove in two runs.

The Wildcats jumped on top in the first inning with a RBI single to right-field by DeBord.

After four scoreless frames, K-State loaded the bases with no outs in the sixth before Davis singled to right field to extend the lead to two. RJ Santiagte then hit a pinch-hit sacrifice fly against newly interested right-hander Jeff Emens, giving K-State a 3-0 lead.

Emens proceeded to hit Austin Fisher to load the bases yet again, but he forced Jake Brown to ground into an inning-ending double play, which gave the Tigers life.

The Wildcats and Tigers conclude their three-game Big 12 series today at 1 p.m.



Two K-State errors opened the door for Missouri in the first inning and the Tigers used the momentum for the rest of the night en route to a 13-4 victory over the Wildcats in the series opener Friday night at Taylor Stadium.

K-State starter Matt Applegate (2-5) began the game with a pair of strikeouts before allowing a double to Ben Turner. Dane Opel was next and hit a ground ball right at Wildcat first baseman Matt Giller, but he let the ball go by him, which brought home a run and gave Missouri life.

Following a failed pickoff attempt that sent Opel to second, Blake Brown and Eric Garcia collected a RBI single a two-run homer, respectively, to make the score 4-0.

The Tigers came back with two more in the second and, after allowing a Wildcat run in the third, scored once in the fourth, two in the sixth and plated another four-spot in the seventh en route to the series-opening win.

In the meantime, Missouri’s Rob Zastryzny (3-2) pitched with confidence, as he allowed just one run on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts in eight innings of work. The left-hander picked up his first victory since March 10.

Applegate threw a career-high 130 pitches, allowing 13 runs (eight earned) on 13 hits in 6 1/3innings. Freshman Robert Youngdahl finished off the game for the Wildcats by tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings with two strikeouts.

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