Baseball triumphs over No. 3 Texas Tech in weekend series

Freshman short stop Nick Goodwin makes an acrobatic throw to try to throw out a Texas Tech runner in Kansas State's 7-2 win over the Red Raiders at Tointon Family Stadium on April 2, 2021. (Elizabeth Proctor | K-State Collegian)

Kansas State baseball took its first home series win against a top-five opponent by taking down No. 3 Texas Tech over the weekend. The Wildcats relied on the long ball on Friday and Saturday to steal the series.

“Big weekend for our guys,” head coach Pete Hughes said in a K-State press release. “It shows what type of character we have in that clubhouse. You dig yourself out of a rut, that happens in this game, and be mature enough to understand the big picture after Thursday’s game one.”

The Red Raiders dominated game one in a 17-1 win on Thursday night. Texas Tech rattled off six home runs in the rout. Freshman infielder Jace Jung hit three home runs going 3-6 with four RBIs, and two homers came as part of an eight-run seventh inning. Junior outfielder Zach Kokoska knocked in the lone run for K-State with a solo home run. Texas Tech held the Wildcats to only two hits in the ballgame.

Sophomore pitcher Jordan Wicks (4-2) allowed five runs in five innings of work with nine strikeouts and two walks. K-State pitchers managed to strikeout 11 batters, but allowed free bases with ten walks, which the Red Raiders capitalized on.

The Wildcats bounced back in game two with a 7-2 win on Friday afternoon.

Sophomore pitcher Carson Seymour (2-2) struck out six through 5.2 innings with two runs off seven hits and five walks. Sophomore outfielder Dylan Phillips led the Wildcats with a four-RBI day going 3-4 at the plate.

“Begins and ends with starting pitching, good pitching, and defense,” Pete Hughes said. “[We] played clean baseball for the first time in a long time. We needed a quality start from Carson Seymour. He was awesome, and then he passed the baton to Tyler Eckberg, and he was just as effective against one of the top offenses, if not the top offense in college baseball, in my opinion.”

K-State jumped out to an early lead with a three-run first inning. Freshman outfielder Cameron Uselton opened the scoring with a solo home run. Phillips followed suit with a two-run home run.

Kokoska extended the lead with an RBI single in the third inning. Dylan Phillips gave the Wildcats a 6-0 lead with a two-run single to cap off the inning.

Texas Tech tacked on two in the fifth inning with RBIs from Cal Conley and Braydon Runion, essentially ending Seymour’s afternoon. Senior designated hitter Chris Ceballos rounded out the scoring with a home run in the sixth.

Junior Tyler Eckberg earned his fourth save of the season, going 3.1 innings with only one hit allowed with six strikeouts.

K-State took the series with a 10-4 victory backed by the longball and a stellar start from redshirt freshman Connor McCullough.

“[McCullough] was awesome today, and gave our offense a chance to settle in and play with a lead,” Hughes said. “We didn’t play behind the last two days, which is a nice thing. He allowed it as a starting pitcher with the quality start.”

McCullough (2-1) threw seven innings with seven strikeouts allowing four runs on six hits. Sophomore pitcher Eric Torres closed the game with two scoreless innings with three strikeouts.

The Wildcats opened the game with a three-run first inning. Freshman Nick Goodwin belted a two-run home run, and Ceballos capped off the inning with a solo home run.

Freshman outfielder Dillon Carter got the Red Raiders on the board with a two-run double in the fourth inning.

K-State took a commanding lead in the eighth inning with a five-run fifth inning to give the Wildcats an 8-2 lead. Ceballos drew a bases-loaded walk to earn an RBI. Kokoska advanced the runners and got an RBI with a groundout to second base. Thompson cleared the bases in the following at-bat with a three-run home run.

Texas Tech added two more runs with a two-run home run by freshman outfielder Cody Masters in the seventh inning. K-State responded with a two-run bottom of the seventh with a solo home run by Phillips and an RBI single by Uselton.

The series win was the first over Texas Tech since 2013 and the first series win over a top-25 team since 2019.

The Wildcats will host a midweek series against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Tuesday and Wednesday. The first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, and both games will be available on ESPN+ and KMAN radio.