Kansas State had a tough task on its hands Thursday against Texas Tech.
With star sophomore starting pitcher Jordan Wicks, K-State was hoping to pull off an upset at Tointon Family Stadium.
The Wildcats hung in the game for the first two innings, but No. 3 Texas Tech got two runs in the third inning and went on to trounce the Wildcats 17-1.
Wicks started strong, as he recorded six strikeouts in the first two innings for K-State (13-12, 0-5 Big 12).
The Red Raiders (21-4, 4-1) struck in the third inning. Wicks appeared on his way to a third straight scoreless inning to open the game, as he notched two quick outs. But then Texas Tech responded with back-to-back home runs to take a 2-0 lead.
“He made some mistakes I know he wishes he had back to some really good hitters,” Kansas State head coach Pete Hughes said. “Good pitchers at this level will make mistakes.”
Hughes said the two homers created energy for the Red Raiders.
“It gave them a little momentum in their dugout,” Hughes said.
In the fourth inning, the Red Raiders added three more runs, started by an RBI double, to extend its advantage to 5-0.
“It was the fourth inning, (Texas Tech) put up three runs,” Hughes said. “That is where they created the distance and kept the momentum for the game.”
Hughes said that Wicks tried to do a little bit too much with his pitches, and that cost him runs in the third and fourth frames.
“In the third and fourth inning, (Wicks) lost command of his secondary stuff,” Hughes said. “You are not going to be perfect every day. As far his competitiveness and his preparation to play and pitch, it is always on point. He is never lacking in those two areas, that is for sure. I am glad he was on the mound for us tonight. Jordan probably wishes he could have some of those pitches back, but I was happy with his performance overall. We need to score more runs for him.”
Wicks pitched five innings, allowing nine hits and recording nine strikeouts.
K-State got its lone run in the fifth inning on a home run from Zach Kokoska.
Jaxon Passino pitched a scoreless sixth inning of relief to take over for Wicks, but he did not record an out in the seventh inning.
Texas Tech had a monstrous seventh inning that included four home runs — two from Jace Jung –— that accounted for eight runs.
Jung got the inning started with a home run, and then the next two batters did the same to make it back-to-back-to-back solo home runs.
To end the inning, Jung hit a two-run homer to give Texas Tech a 13-1 lead.
The visitors then scored four more runs in the ninth inning to wrap up its 16-run victory.
The Wildcats were not able to produce much offense; they mustered just one run on two hits, along with three errors.
“(Texas Tech) threw their best arm at us,” Hughes said. “I thought we had some quality at-bats. I thought early on we had some good at-bats and had them on the ropes. We’ve got to get a hit in runners in scoring position at some point.
“They did a good job, and we have to do a better job offensively.
We’ve got to get more than two hits. (When) you have more errors than hits, you are not going to beat anyone.
It was just a little disappointing in how we pitched and played defense tonight.”