Pena pushes K-State past Texas Tech in Game 1 

Roberto Pena prepares to hit the ball against the Creighton Bluejays. The Wildcats earned a 10-0 victory over the Bluejays on April 10, 2023, in Tointon Family Stadium. (Archive photo by Avery Johnson | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State baseball won over the No. 14 Texas Tech Red Raiders, 3-2, in a defense-driven battle.

Owen Boerema started for the Wildcats on the mound. The pitcher held a 5-1 record on the season and continued that momentum on Friday. Boerema played a full six innings, recording seven strikeouts, six hits and allowing two runs on the night.

Mason Molina got the start for the Red Raiders and had a similar night for Texas Tech. Molina played a full six innings, finishing the night with six strikeouts, six hits and one allowed run.

Both pitchers battled through the first four innings, until the fifth inning when Texas Tech opened up scoring. Kevin Bazzell would hit a single to the corner of the right field to send home a runner, quickly followed up with another RBI from Gavin Cash to put the Red Raiders up 2-0.

The Wildcats responded to the deficit quickly in the bottom of the fifth inning. First baseman Roberto Pena hit a ball deep to center field, sending a runner home for a sacrifice fly, putting the Wildcats back into play down 2-1.

Pitching changes for both teams would occur in the seventh, with the Wildcats opting for Ty Ruhl. Ruhl would take care of business through his two innings, only allowing two hits. 

Texas Tech substituted in Ryan Free who struggled early, allowing a home run off of a Pena drive deep to right field putting the Wildcats on top 3-2.

Pena ended his impressive performance with a double play off of a hit into the defensive shift, allowing Tyson Neighbors to close with a strikeout for the win.

Neighbors ended the night throwing fast, recording balls over 98 and 99 miles per hour to put the Wildcats up in the series 1-0. 

With the win, the Wildcats will look to add to their chances at a postseason and keep competitive in the Big 12. 

K-State baseball returns to Tointon at 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 29, for its second game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders.