Maybe it was the wind Mother Nature provided over the weekend. Maybe the Baylor Bears, 18-22 overall and 5-10 in the Big 12, just didn’t have the pitchers to shut down K-State’s bats. Or maybe the Wildcats, 18-22 and 5-10 in the Big 12, can hit the ball really well.
On a windy Sunday afternoon, the Wildcats closed out the weekend series with their opponent from Waco, Texas, with a 10-4 win and won the series 2-1 at Tointon Family Stadium.
“It was just a good-approach weekend,” junior first baseman Jake Scudder said of his team’s performance at the plate. “We kind of stuck with our approach, going middle of the field and hitting the ball the other way. We got through the heat of our conference play with the best pitching, and this weekend kind of showed what kind of team we are.”
The Wildcats had two big innings that really boosted them to their fifth conference win of the season, but it did not look good for K-State early.
With two men on, Baylor senior infielder Justin Arrington doubled to left center and gave the Bears a 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning, putting K-State in a hole quickly.
The Wildcats responded in the bottom half of the inning thanks to a double from junior infielder Josh Ethier, bringing home junior infielder Steve Serratore to quickly cut into the Baylor lead.
In the bottom of the third inning, K-State used doubles from Scudder and senior catcher Tyler Moore, a triple from junior outfielder Quintin Crandall, and a sacrifice fly from senior outfielder Clayton Dalrymple to score five runs and create a 6-2 lead after three innings.
The Wildcats’ starting pitcher, senior Corey Fischer, earned the win and improved to 2-3 on the season. went five innings and struck out three batters before being replaced by freshman Logan Wiley in the top of the sixth.
The Bears took advantage of the change in pitchers and junior catcher Matt Menard and freshman designated hitter T.J. Raguse hit back-to-back home runs off Wiley, cutting the K-State lead to 6-4.
But the Bears’ hopes were quickly dashed in the bottom of the inning when K-State had home runs from freshman catcher Josh Rolette and Serratore to score four runs in the bottom of the sixth, and the Wildcats went on to pick up the win.
K-State has now won two straight series in Big 12 play, and there seems to be a different feel around the team than there was earlier this season when the BatCats were struggling to find success.
“You come to the ballpark and you just have a better feel about yourself,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “It’s hard to break that feeling of coming to the ballpark and waiting for bad things to happen. That’s kind of where we were about three weeks ago — just waiting for something bad to happen. We’re playing some better baseball now.”
K-State can’t convert in series opener
K-State lost a heartbreaker at Tuesday’s midweek game against Nebraska. The Huskers took the game from the Wildcats in extra innings. Such was the case again on Friday night when Baylor came to town for the first game of the weekend series.
The Bears scored two runs in the top of the tenth inning before defeating K-State 7-5.
The Wildcats failed to convert on opportunities in Friday’s game. K-State had runners in scoring position in the eighth inning with the game tied at 5-5 but failed to convert.
In the ninth inning, the bases were loaded for the Wildcats, but they again failed to have a single run cross the plate.
“Bases loaded, and we cannot get a hit to give us some cushion and a little bit of breathing room,” Hill said to K-State Sports. “We had opportunities at the end to get the game-winning hit or walk-off. We just didn’t do those little things.”
Bats connect for Wildcats in game two
If success at the plate intrigues you, Tointon Family Stadium was the place to be on Saturday afternoon. K-State had six players with multi-hit games, brought 11 runs across the plate and defeated the Baylor Bears 11-7 after dropping the extra-inning game the night before.
“We had some really big at-bats today,” Hill said to K-State Sports. “The one that sticks out is Scudder’s (in the sixth). He fouled off a pair of two-strike pitches and then hit the two-run homer to give us a little bit of breathing room.”
The game was neck-and-neck throughout the first four innings. The Wildcats scored two in the first and three in the fourth, while Baylor scored one in the second and five in the fourth to take a 6-5 lead after four innings.
But a four-run fifth inning was all the Wildcats needed to power through for their first win of the series.