Team Purple evens the Fall World Series with a 5-4 walk-off win

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Freshman pitcher Tyler Ruhl winds up a pitch during Game two of the Wildcat's Fall World Series at Tointon Family Stadium on Oct. 9. (Macey Franko | Collegian Media Group)

The baseball team played the second of three Fall World Series games on Friday night. Team Purple tied the series by walking it off on a sac bunt off the bat of freshman infielder Brady Day and a throwing error on the part of Team Gray.

A pair of freshmen started for both teams. Tyler Ruhl went three-plus innings for Team Purple, allowing four runs off five hits with a strikeout and two walks. Team Gray countered with freshman left-hander Brett Wozniak, who tossed three innings, giving up three runs on six hits with a strikeout.

“What I got out of tonight was two freshmen starting pitchers getting great experience in a really cool atmosphere,” head coach Pete Hughes said in a K-State Athletics press release. “It got them the feel for the next level. There was some growth there tonight, so that was a positive.”

Team Gray jumped to an early 2-0 lead in the top of the first following a 2-run home run by junior shortstop Kamron Willman. Through two-games, Willman had two home runs and five RBIs.

Team Purple responded in the bottom of the second with an RBI triple by sophomore designated hitter Mason Crews. Freshman second-baseman Luke Beckstein tied the game in the next at-bat with an RBI groundout to the shortstop.

Ruhl worked out of trouble in the top of the third following a leadoff single and later with two runners in scoring position with two out, getting freshman Nick Goodwin to pop out to right field to end the inning.

Junior outfielder Jordan Maxson put Team Purple ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the third with an RBI single. Team purple was threatening with the bases loaded, but the rally was snuffed out by a double play.

Team Gray plated two in the top of the fourth to take a 4-3 lead, but it was short-lived. Senior third baseman Cameron Thompson tied the ballgame at four apiece in the bottom of the fifth with a solo shot to left on the first pitch of the at-bat.

The bottom of the sixth began with a leadoff walk by Beckstein. Sophomore Cole Johnson advanced the runner and reached on an error giving Team Purple two on with no outs. Day walked it off on a sacrifice bunt the following at-bat, which drove in the game-winning run on a throwing error to even the series.

“It taught some lessons — that if you take care of the baseball and if you do the little things — that can be the difference if you win or lose,” Hughes said. “We won a game by getting a bunt down. On the other side, we also don’t execute pop up communication and bunt defense, and it goes the other way on you.”

Junior right-hander Jaxon Passino tossed three scoreless innings in relief for Team Purple with three hits and three strikeouts.

Sophomore right-hander Griffin Hassall pitched two frames for Team Gray, allowing a run off two hits and three strikeouts. Junior RHP Andrew Stratman allowed one run and a walk in the final frame for Team Gray.

The Fall World Series finale will be played at noon on Saturday.

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