In a series that will place the winner in second place of the Big 12, Kansas State baseball topped the Oklahoma State Cowboys 10-9 in Game 1. K-State moves to 32-18 and the Cowboys fall to 33-15.
Ace Owen Boerema (7-1) took the mound for K-State and righty Juaron Watts-Brown (5-3) for the Cowboys.
Scoring kicked off in the second inning. K-State tagged on two runs in the top half, highlighted by first baseman Roberto Pena’s two-out RBI double. The Cowboys responded with a two-run shot, tying the game.
The third inning saw a similar pattern. Shortstop Nick Goodwin recorded a two-out RBI double, bringing the K-State lead to 4-2. However, Boerema labored in the bottom half with Oklahoma State loading the bases with no outs. The lefty controlled the damage, allowing two runs on one hit and escaping with a tied score.
K-State once again scored two runs in the top of the fifth. Third baseman Kaelen Culpepper and Goodwin each picked up their second RBI on the night.
The Wildcats extended the lead to five in the top of the seventh after hitting four singles capped off with a double by left fielder Cole Johnson.
GALLERY: Southeast Missouri State baseball 2023
Boerema remained in the game in the bottom of the seventh with 94 pitches thrown, and Oklahoma State took advantage. The Cowboys tagged the lefty for two more runs before reliever Tyson Neighbors got him out of the jam. K-State led 10-7.
Boerema’s night finished with 6 1/3 innings pitched, allowing seven runs on eight hits and four strikeouts. Goodwin finished 4 for 5 with three RBI and Culpepper 3 for 5 with two RBI.
Neighbors continues to establish himself as one of the nation’s best relievers, picking up a 2 2/3 inning save. The righty allowed a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth, but ultimately notched his tenth save of the year.
After a time change due to potential storms, Game 2 will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday followed by Game 3 at 3 p.m Sunday.
K-State remains in the hunt for its first NCAA regional appearance since 2013. After finishing this weekend’s series in Stillwater, the Wildcats will return to Manhattan to finish regular season play against TCU.