One step forward and two steps back could be a good slogan to use for this baseball team.
Less than 24 hours after an exhilarating 11-3 win that snapped a seven-game losing streak, the Wildcats came up short in 11 innings to the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles, 14-10.
“We hit good enough to win the game, but we needed the big hits there late and couldn’t get them,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “Then just a couple blunders cost us there at the end. Bad game.”
Freshman pitcher Jacob Ruder got the start on Wednesday afternoon. Unfortunately for Ruder, it was bad from the beginning.
After loading the bases, he walked Oral Roberts sophomore outfielder Noah Cummings and junior outfielder Sam Grellner on their respective at-bats. Both walks allowed runs to come home, and the Golden Eagles scored two runs in the top of the first.
The game wasn’t bad for just Ruder, however. Nine pitchers took the mound for K-State and struggled before senior Corey Fischer took the loss, falling to 1-2 on the season.
“We’ve got guys we have to throw this weekend, so we had limited pitches out of those guys,” Hill said. “I’m not sure anybody really deserved to stay out there longer than they did, quite honestly.”
Oral Roberts, 13-11, also used a plethora of pitchers from its bullpen. The Golden Eagles used eight pitchers before junior Brady Womacks earned the win and improved to 2-1.
K-State responded in the bottom when freshman catcher Josh Rolette connected with a pitch that would sail over the right field wall for a two-run homerun to tie the game after one inning.
Oral Roberts got after Ruder again in the second thanks to a double from sophomore infielder Nick Roark, bringing home junior infielder Nick Rotola and senior infielder Chase Stafford.
Ruder was yanked from the game after going just 1.1 innings, giving up four runs, four hits and walking five batters before being replaced by senior Brandon Erickson.
“We pitched awful today, bluntly,” Hill said. “We pitched awful.”
The Wildcats again responded in the bottom of the inning with a solo shot to right field from junior first baseman Jake Scudder, making it 4-3 in favor of Oral Roberts after two innings.
After a scoreless third inning, the Golden Eagles poured it on the Wildcats in the fourth. Stafford drove in senior infielder Trevin Sonnier, making it 5-3. Then sophomore catcher Matt Whately singled and brought home Stafford and Rotola, creating a four-run gap with their 7-3 lead after four innings.
Oral Roberts scored one more run in the fifth inning to make the score 8-3, giving the early feel that K-State would be on its way to its 14th loss of the year.
However, the tides turned in the Wildcats’ favor in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded, a wild pitch got away from Oral Roberts and brought home Scudder. Next, senior outfielder Clayton Dalrymple hit a sacrifice fly to right field and senior outfielder Danny Krause scored. Another wild pitch after that brought home freshman outfielder Michael Smith, and just like that K-State was within two runs.
But the Wildcats still weren’t done with the sixth inning. Junior infielder Jake Wodtke scored from second base thanks to a single from senior catcher Tyler Moore and freshman catcher Josh Rolette came home off a single from junior infielder Steve Serratore.
When the sixth inning was all said and done, K-State scored five runs and tied the game 8-8.
The scoring continued for the boys in purple in the seventh inning. With the bases loaded and no outs recorded, Dalrymple grounded out to second base, allowing Scudder to score. Krause also crossed the plate off of a bunt from Wodtke. And just like that, the Wildcats led by two runs in a game in which they trailed by four runs at one point.
Oral Roberts got their chance to respond in the ninth inning and did so with two runs, tying the game at 10-10, forcing extra innings between the two squads.
K-State had a golden opportunity to win the game in the 10th inning but came up short. Dalrymple singled to left field, giving Krause the green light home from second base. Krause was thrown out at the plate, and the teams went to the 11th.
“You like to think, (you have it won)” Hill said. “Clayton hit it hard and their kid made a heck of a throw. He came up throwing and actually (Dalrymple) probably hit it too hard. But the kid made a heck of a throw, and I thought their catcher made a great play.”
After a scoreless 10th inning, the Golden Eagles found success in the 11th. Oral Roberts managed to bring home four runs in the top of the inning, creating a gap that K-State could not overcome in the bottom, and the Wildcats fell to 12-14 on the season.
“We just didn’t pitch very well today,” Hill said. “Great fight by our guys to come back and take the lead. You’ve got the lead in the ninth, most games, you expect to win.”
The Wildcats will hope to avoid another loss on Friday when they travel to Lubbock, Texas, to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders at 6:30 p.m.