K-State takes series over Oklahoma with win on Sunday

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K-State outfielder Caleb Littlejim prepares to dive into third base during the game against Oklahoma on Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium. (Dylan Connell | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State (21-15, 4-8) wrapped up a series win over Oklahoma with an 8-3 win on Sunday. The series win over the Sooners was the first since 2013 and the second consecutive Big 12 Conference home series win.

Redshirt freshman pitcher Connor McCullough allowed three runs in four innings of work with two strikeouts and three walks.

The experience in the bullpen carried the Wildcats to the finish line after a doubleheader on Saturday. Redshirt junior Tyler Eckberg earned the win in four innings of work and senior Kasey Ford closed out the series with a smooth ninth inning which included three strikeouts.

“It’s good that Tyler and Kasey can bounce back,” head coach Pete Hughes said. “They’re conditioned to bounce back on back-to-back days. I’m just happy for Kasey because he didn’t have the results he wanted yesterday. Today he was awesome. His stuff was awesome, and his command was awesome.”

The Sooners opened the scoring for the third straight game of the series with an RBI single by redshirt freshman catcher Jimmy Crooks in the first inning. Oklahoma had the bases-loaded, but the Wildcats got a double-play to end the threat.

“That [double play] was the key of the game,” Hughes said. “That first inning, that ground ball double play, its just damage control, we come out of that inning with one run. … It allowed us to settle in.”

Senior catcher Chris Ceballos tied the game in the second inning with a sacrifice fly to center. K-State had the bases loaded with one out but failed to capitalize on the opportunity.

K-State took the lead in the third inning on a single by junior designated hitter Zach Kokoska. Oklahoma scored two in the top of the fifth to take a 3-2 lead with an RBI single by center fielder Tanner Tredaway and a sacrifice fly by designated hitter Braxton Bohrofen.

Sophomore first baseman Dylan Phillips gave the Wildcats a 4-3 lead with a two-run home run, which sparked a four-run fifth inning. Sophomore center fielder Blake Burrows recorded an RBI single and an error allowed senior right fielder Caleb Littlejim to score, capping off the inning with a 6-3 lead.

Tyler Eckberg kept the Sooners at bay for the Wildcats as K-State tacked on two in the sixth to take an 8-3 lead.

“Tyler Eckberg was the story of the day for me,” Hughes said. “He settled everything down.”

Eckberg tossed four innings in relief and held the Sooners to two hits with one walk and three strikeouts.

The Wildcats will host West Virginia next weekend, which will continue a 12-game homestand for K-State. The first pitch is slated for 6 p.m. on Friday and will be available on ESPN+ and KMAN radio.

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