No. 19 Texas Tech used clutch pitching and phenomenal defense to take game three and the series from K-State baseball (18-20, 5-10) 4-1 on Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium.
“We just couldn’t get the big hit today,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said after the game.
Even with the absence of the big hit, K-State was able to rack up plenty of small ones, as they outhit the Red Raiders 10-9 but stranded 12 baserunners.
K-State was without an RBI throughout the duration the ballgame, scoring their lone run in the second inning on a balk that tied the game up after Texas Tech hit a solo run home run in the top of the inning off sophomore starter Nate Griep.
“Greip did (keep us in the game), but he’s not sharp,” Hill said. “When you’re pitching every week or every two weeks, it’s hard to be sharp. He labored a lot of pitches, but still he’s a competitor — he battled and competed.”
Even though Greip was not at his best, the sophomore pitched five solid innings and only gave up two runs on five hits while striking out four Red Raider batters.
After the K-State bullpen gave up two more runs in the sixth inning, the Wildcat relievers only gave up one hit in the final three innings.
“Our pitching staff did great,” senior outfielder Max Brown said. “Nate did really well. They kind of got lucky with those few dribblers to the infield … It was good to have (freshman reliever Bryce Ward and sophomore reliever Jordan Floyd) come in and not kind of just lay down and go out there and throw strikes.”
K-State did make a attempt at a rally with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning by getting two men on with Brown at the bat representing the tying run. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, Brown grounded out to third to end the inning and the game
“That’s baseball,” Brown said. “You can’t really steer the ball it just kind of happens. You gotta keep playing hard because you never know what’s going to happen.”
K-State fell behind early in the second game of the series as they fell 7-1 to the Red Raiders.
Texas Tech scored four runs in the first inning and three in the third inning, coupled with Texas Tech starter Cameron Smith throwing eight scoreless innings.
Sophomore catcher Alex Bee’s first-career home run in the ninth inning helped K-State avoid the shutout.
K-State got the fourth win over a top-25 team in four weeks in come-from-behind fashion, as the Wildcats took the series opener 5-3.
The Red Raiders struck first with a three-run home run in the third inning, but K-State responded with a four-run fifth inning. The Wildcats never looked back.
K-State tacked on one more run for good measure on a squeeze play in the eighth inning that scored freshman pinch runner Sam Chadick.
K-State begins a six-game road trip with a jaunt up to Lincoln, Nebraska to take on the No. 23 Cornhuskers on Tuesday.