Kokoska’s 41-game on-base streak ends, Baylor takes weekend series over the Wildcats

Junior outfielder Zach Kokoska prepares before stepping up to bat during the first game against Eastern Illinois on March 5, 2021 at Tointon Family Stadium. (Sophie Osborn | Collegian Media Group)

Multiple streaks ended for Kansas State in the series finale on the road against the Baylor Bears. The Wildcats took game two of the series with a dominating seven-run ninth inning on Saturday, but the Bears clinched the series with a dominating 23-3 win in seven innings on Sunday.

Baylor jumped out to an early lead and never relented in a 17-2 rout of K-State in the opening game of the series on Friday.

“Disappointed for our guys, we didn’t pitch it or play defense good enough to win,” K-State head coach Pete Hughes said in a K-State press release.

Redshirt freshman pitcher Connor McCullough (4-3) was tacked with nine runs, five earned in 2.1 innings of work with five walks and five strikeouts.

The Bears belted three home runs in the first three innings to build a 9-0 lead. Senior catcher Chris Ceballos belted a home run to put the Wildcats on the board, his fifth straight game with a home run. The Bears responded with two runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.

K-State added its second run in the fifth with a fielder’s choice RBI by senior infielder Cameron Thompson. Baylor added one in the sixth and rounded out the scoring with a three-run eighth to take game one.

The Wildcats rode a seven-run ninth inning to even the series with a 10-3 win over the Bears on Saturday. Junior catcher Dylan Caplinger, Thompson, and Ceballos all hit home runs in the ninth to seal the win – Ceballos’ sixth straight game with a home run.

“Our offense never panicked and was productive at the right times,” Hughes said. “Happy for Dylan Caplinger; he’s becoming one of our key hitters in pressure situations.”

Sophomore starting pitcher Jordan Wicks threw 5.1 innings and gave up three runs on ten hits with four strikeouts and two walks. Sophomore pitcher Eric Torres (3-0) got the win with 3.2 scoreless innings allowing only one hit with two strikeouts.

Baylor jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the second inning. Caplinger brought the Wildcats within one with a home run in the third. The Bears added a run in the sixth with an RBI single, but the Wildcats tied the game with the two-run seventh.

The seven-run ninth inning was sparked by an RBI single by sophomore outfielder Cole Johnson, breaking the tie. Caplinger added insurance with a three-run home run to give the Wildcats a 7-3 lead. Thompson followed suit with a solo home run, and Chris Ceballos rounded out the scoring with a two-run home run.

Multiple streaks came to an end on Sunday in a 23-3 seven-inning loss to Baylor. Ceballos’ six-game hitting streak also came to an end, along with Kokoska’s streak.

Senior pitcher Kasey Ford (4-1) threw 2.2 innings and allowed four runs off six hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

Baylor took a dominating lead with a 17-run fifth inning after taking a 6-0 lead into the frame. K-State tacked on three runs in the top of the sixth, highlighted by a home run by freshman outfielder Dom Hughes.

It was the 75th home run of the season for the Wildcats, which tied a school record for most home runs in a season. It was also the 12th straight game that K-State has belted a home run.

K-State will travel to Lawrence next weekend to face the Jayhawks for a three-game weekend set. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be available on ESPN+ and News Radio KMAN.