Bases loaded, two outs, bottom of the eighth inning. These are situations that baseball players live for. Well on Friday evening, senior catcher Blair DeBord cashed in on his opportunity to be the hero.
With a score of 4-4, DeBord knocked one over to the Baylor’s senior second baseman Lawton Langford. The former second team All-Big 12 selection threw it over to first but DeBord beat out the throw by diving head first.
From there sophomore pitcher Jake Matthys closed the door in the final inning, giving the Wildcats the series win, 6-4.
“When I saw him catch it pretty deep on his back foot I knew I had a pretty good chance,” DeBord said. “For me, being a slow guy I knew I was going to have to dive to make it close, so it worked out.”
For much of the game, the two teams traded blows. K-State was first on the board when junior Mitch Meyer hit a single, scoring junior Shane Conlon. Baylor was quick to answer, scoring two in the top of the second. Senior Ross Kivett then led off the bottom of the third inning with a solo home run. Both teams would grab a couple runs in the third inning, which appeared to set the tone for the rest of the evening.
“They really battled tonight, we battled right with them and had too,” head coach Brad Hill said. “It was just a good competitive game and we were fortunate to come out a couple runs on top”
Making his first career start in a K-State uniform was freshman Jordan Floyd. He allowed three runs in just three innings, throwing a total of 47 pitches. Freshman Jake Fromson then came in and gave the Wildcats three solid innings of relief, giving up only one earned run.
“It was ok,” Hill said about Floyd’s start. “I’d like to see him a little more aggressive in the zone. Just kind of feeling for some pitches instead of just throwing with aggression.”
With the win on Friday, the Wildcats won their first Big 12 series of the season. The defending conference champs have struggled to defend their title this season, but this could have been just what they needed moving forward.
“This whole year we haven’t been able to get it done in that situation, so it was really really big for Jake (Matthys) to pitch out of that,” DeBord said.
The final game of the series is set for Saturday evening at 7 pm from Tointon Family Stadium. With the win, the Wildcats moved to 22-17 on the year and 4-7 in Big 12 play.