Baseball splits Saturday doubleheader with Oklahoma, battle for series win Sunday

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Sophomore outfielder Dylan Phillips celebrates after hitting the walk-off RBI in game one of Saturday's doubleheader against Oklahoma as the Wildcats defeated the Sooners 3-2. (Natalie Leonard | Collegian Media Group)

Late-game heroics highlighted a doubleheader split between the Kansas State and Oklahoma baseball teams on Saturday. The opening game of the series was pushed to Saturday due to inclement weather on Friday night.

K-State took the opening game of the series and doubleheader on Saturday afternoon in walk-off fashion with a 3-2 win in 10 innings. Sophomore first baseman Dylan Phillips capped off a 3-5 afternoon with the walk-off RBI. K-State hitters notched seven hits off Sooner pitchers but struck out 14 times.

“It felt great because it was a great win,” head coach Pete Hughes said. “We got a great pitching performance in game one. The guys kept their composure. Got a big hit, walk-off at home . . . Although we lost [game two], I’ve got a lot of positives that came out of that second game. I feel good about where we are mentally heading into tomorrow to win the series.”

Sophomore starting pitcher Jordan Wicks held Oklahoma to one run through seven innings with only three hits, three walks with seven strikeouts in that first game.

“There wasn’t much barrel contact,” Hughes said. “I think there was one quality barrel hit off [Wicks], and that team’s leading the conference in hitting. His stuff was really good today. His fastball command was outstanding. He had a good feel for all four of his pitches.”

The three K-State pitchers allowed only four hits and walked five in the first game. Redshirt junior pitcher Tyler Eckberg (2-3) recorded the win but gave up the tying run in the ninth.

Starting pitcher for the Sooners redshirt freshman Jake Bennett lasted 4.1 innings and stuck out six batters, allowing two runs on four hits with four walks. Redshirt sophomore pitcher Wyatt Olds (3-3) tossed 5.1 innings and earned the loss, allowing only two hits with eight strikeouts.

Oklahoma took a 1-0 lead in the fifth inning of the first game with a single by redshirt junior center fielder Tanner Tredaway that scored redshirt junior catcher Justin Mitchell. The Wildcats responded and took the lead in the bottom of that inning with a two-run single with the bases loaded by freshman left fielder Cameron Uselton.

The Sooners tied the ballgame at two apiece when senior pitcher Kasey Ford hit redshirt freshman third baseman Peyton Graham to start the inning. Redshirt senior second baseman Connor McKenna drove in Graham with a fielder’s choice to freshman shortstop Nick Goodwin.

Sophomore center fielder Blake Burrows, who batted in the nine spot in the opening game, drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the tenth. Phillips walked it off with a hit into left field, which scored Burrows to take the opening game 3-2.

In the second game though, Oklahoma belted three homers to defeat K-State 6-4.

Redshirt sophomore Carson Seymour (2-4) allowed six runs on six hits in 3.1 innings with two walks and two strikeouts. Senior pitcher Caleb Littlejim held the Sooners scoreless in 2.2 innings of work, and sophomore pitcher Eric Torres carried the Wildcats to the finish with three hitless innings of work with five strikeouts.

Oklahoma redshirt sophomore Braden Carmichael threw 4.1 innings, allowing four runs off four hits with a pair of strikeouts and four walks. Redshirt junior Carson Carter (2-0) stopped the bleeding with 3.0 innings with three strikeouts. Redshirt senior Jason Ruffcorn earned his third save of the season in 1.2 innings with one hit, one walk and four strikeouts.

The Sooners jumped out to an early 3-0 lead in the first inning, highlighted by a two-run home run by Peyton Graham. Oklahoma extended the lead with another three-run inning in the fourth when redshirt junior Breydon Daniel belted a solo home run, and freshman Jace Bohrofen hit a two-run shot to right.

Junior catcher Dylan Caplinger gave the Wildcats a much-needed offensive jolt in the fifth inning with a two-run home run to make it 6-2. The Wildcats added two more in the inning with RBIs by Uselton and Goodwin to put the game within reach at 6-4.

The Wildcats threatened in the bottom of the ninth with game one’s hero Phillips at the plate, but Ruffcorn completed the save with a strikeout on a full count.

“That’s how I would’ve dialed it up,” Hughes said. “He did it for us in the first game. I hope he’s up there tomorrow in that same situation because the kid works his butt off every day to be in that situation and have a competitive at-bat, and that was a competitive at-bat. Got the count to 3-2. I hope he’s in that situation tomorrow for us. He’s the right guy in that spot.”

The Wildcats left nine men on base, went 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position and 0-for-9 with two outs.

The series finale is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m. and will be available on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and the K-State Sports Radio Network.

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