While the Kansas State baseball team got the better of TCU this past weekend — winning its three-game series with a phenomenal seven-run, ninth-inning rally on Saturday — the Horned Frogs had the last laugh. TCU defeated the Wildcats 7-6 on a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament on Wednesday in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
“They got the big hit,” interim coach Austin Wates said. “That’s really what it comes down to — they got the big hit. They had a leadoff triple, and then in the last inning, that leadoff double down the line. Those are big hits for your team.”
Wates served as the head coach for the Wildcats in Wednesday’s first-round game. Head coach Pete Hughes is currently serving a four-game suspension that will end after Thursday’s elimination game.
“We just have to win the next game at all cost,” Wates said. “We need to do what we need to do, and we’re going to try to do it. Everyone is going to be available, I’m sure, and we’ve got to build a lead when we can and execute a high level if we want to win baseball games.”
Still, Wednesday’s loss to TCU was not entirely in vain. Pitcher Jordan Wicks and third baseman Cameron Thompson both set school records. Wicks now holds the record for most strikeouts in school history with 224 after striking out nine batters in 5.2 innings against the Horned Frogs.
“Jordan is our guy,” Wates said. “He comes to the field every day ready to work and always gives us a chance to win the game whether or not he has his best stuff … he will always figure out a way to get at least five innings for us and that’s what he did today.”
Wicks is projected as the first-ever first-round MLB draft pick in K-State baseball history. Wicks is ranked as the 15th best college baseball prospect in the country, according to MLB.com.
Along with Wicks, Thompson is now the new all-time leader in career games started in K-State baseball history, starting in his 237th game against TCU on Wednesday.
“Cam [Thompson] is one of the leaders of the clubhouse,” Wates said. “Everybody looks up to him and he’s a guy that, again, has started every game here and he’s got a great personality and he’s always there and he’s always ready to go and he’s always ready to learn. A lot of the guys look up to the kid, especially with as many games that he’s played and as much as he’s done for this program. He means a lot to us.”
K-State’s season is not over yet, with the Wildcats facing Baylor on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. in an attempt to avoid elimination from the Big 12 Tournament.
Coverage for Thursday’s game will be provided on ESPNU and on the K-State Sports Network.