Wildcats rally late to defeat Baylor, 13-9

By Joel Jellison

OKLAHOMA CITY — Although it didn’t matter much toward Kansas State’s chances at playing for the Big 12 tournament championship, a loss to Baylor could have dashed the Wildcats’ shots at hosting a regional next weekend.

Needing some ninth-inning heroics Friday afternoon, the 15th-ranked Wildcats went into the ninth inning trailing by one run. Top-seeded K-State got just what it needed and more when it loaded the bases and scored a pair of runs on a Jon Davis single to put the Cats ahead and ignite a five-run frame for the 13-9 victory at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.

The Wildcats improved to 41-16, while the Bears dropped to 27-27 on the season.

K-State was in the hole early, down five runs quickly, after surrendering two runs in the bottom of the second and three more in the third. But the Wildcats answered with a four-spot in their half of the fourth to get back into the game.

Jared King got things going in the fourth with a single that scored Tanner Witt. Davis followed with a double to score Shane Conlon and move King to third. Blair Debord then grounded out to score King and move Davis to third, who would eventually come home on a wild pitch.

It didn’t last though, as Baylor quickly responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning to take control 7-4 with a bases-loaded walk by Cal Towey and a sacrifice fly from Jake Miller.

It stayed that way until the sixth inning when K-State again scored in bunches with another four runs to take an 8-7 lead. Mitch Meyer doubled off the wall in right-center to put runners at second and third for K-State with one out. DeBord grounded out to score King from third, and Lance Miles singled to bring in Meyer.

A double from Ross Kivett would give the Wildcats their first lead of the game when the Baylor outfielder took a bad angle and allowed the ball to get past two players in right-center. It was enough time for RJ Santigate and Miles to come around and score with two outs. Kivett stopped at second on the play with the Wildcats leading by one.

Baylor tied the game in the bottom of the sixth and then took a one-run lead in the eighth when Towey was hit by Gerardo Esquivel’s pitch with the bases loaded and just one out. Towey finished the game with three walks, was hit by pitch twice, and had two RBIs.

In the Wildcats’ big ninth inning, K-State loaded the bases with a single and back-to-back walks. Davis then singled past the first baseman to score Witt and Conlon.

K-State piled on as Baylor pitcher Doug Ashby couldn’t decide where to throw on a grounder hit back to the mound, allowing King to score and the Wildcats to keep the bases loaded. Miles then supplied the knockout blow on a two-run single to give K-State five runs in the inning.

But in a game where offense ruled the day, no lead was safe until the final out. K-State didn’t do itself any favors either on the mound where the Wildcats pitchers walked nine and hit two batters, while surrendering eight hits. The Wildcats also committed three errors.

Esquivel picked up the win, pitching 1 2/3 scoreless innings of relief with two strikeouts, a hit batter and a walk and no hits. Wildcats starter Levi MaVorhis surrendered five runs — two earned — on four hits in 2 2/3 innings Friday. Baylor’s Max Garner lasted only three innings after giving up four runs on four hits with one strikeout and one walk. Josh Michalec took the loss, allowing two runs on two hits with a pair of walks in 2 2/3 innings.

Davis and Miles were both 2 for 5 with three RBIs for K-State, which pounded out 12 hits on the day. Debord and Kivett drove in two runs apiece for the Wildcats, who play Oklahoma on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. with a trip to the Big 12 title game on the line.

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