The Kansas State baseball team faced the University of Nebraska Omaha Mavericks on Tuesday night, pulling away a 3-0 win at home.
Between the Wildcats and the Mavericks, defense reigned supreme for the first seven innings of the game; no team would score until the eighth inning.
K-State registered just one hit through the first seven innings. Then, in the eighth inning, the bats came alive.
The Wildcat hitting was initiated by second baseman freshman Brett Owen, knocking one between the third baseman and shortstop. That hit advanced senior Kyle Barfield, who was walked just before, to second.
With runners at first and second, sophomore Will Brennan stepped up to the plate. Brennan delivered another single, dropping the ball right in front of the centerfielder.
The bases were now loaded, and K-State’s scoring drought was about to end. Freshman Dylan Watts stepped up and singled up the middle, scoring Barfield and Owen.
Omaha opted to go with a pitching change after the sudden barrage of hitting from K-State, but the Wildcats were still able to get another run.
Junior Drew Mount grounded out to second base, but not without Brennan scoring the third run of the inning.
All in all, the Wildcats finished with four hits, three of which came in the pivotal eighth inning.
K-State carried its 3-0 lead into the ninth inning and did not flinch. Freshman pitcher Jaxon Passino came in and got the save, allowing no hits in the final inning.
Omaha racked up five hits on the night, out-hitting K-State. The Mavericks easily could have scored a run, as they left five runners on base. The same could be said for the Wildcats though, as they left four of their own runners out to dry.
Despite bending a little, the Wildcat pitching staff never broke, even when pressure mounted. During the eighth inning, it seemed that the Mavericks would be the first to break the game’s scoring drought.
The pitching had to be strong, as offense was hard to come by tonight for both teams.
Wildcat head coach Brad Hill commented on the performance of his pitchers after the game.
“They all came in and did their job tonight,” Hill said. “We had to have it obviously, as we did not score a lot of runs.”
Watts finished the game batting 1-3 with 2 RBIs.
K-State is now 13-12 this season, and the win halts a four-game losing streak, giving the Wildcats some much-needed momentum as they prepare for their second Big 12 series of the season.
On Thursday, the Wildcats will welcome the University of Texas Longhorns to town for a three-game weekend series.
Hill mentioned that Texas will be a tough opponent because of the velocity of its pitchers and the recent hitting struggles of K-State. He said the pitching core will have to provide a consistent performance to give his team success this weekend.
K-State and Texas will play three games on Thursday and Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday at 1 p.m. in Manhattan.