On a damp, dreary day at Tointon Family Stadium, K-State finally broke their long conference losing streak. It had been six weeks since the Wildcats last experienced a conference win. That win–an 8-7 nail biter over the Oklahoma Sooners–came all the way back on March 31. In the interim, the Wildcats lost eleven straight conference games, and began this pivotal series, one-and-a-half games behind the University of Kansas for eighth place in the league.
To say this win was much-needed is a vast understatement. With a loss, the Cats would have fallen to 2 1/2 games behind the Jayhawks, with only 5 games left in the conference season. Instead, the 2-0 win puts them only 1/2 game behind, with five to play. Only the top 8 (of 9) Big 12 teams advance to the conference tournament, making eighth place a coveted position.
Senior pitcher Kayvon Bahramzadeh (6-3) pitched extremely well over 5 2/3 innings. Striking out 8, he allowed no hits until the fifth inning. What finally slowed down Bahramzadeh in this last home start of his career was the weather. After getting two outs in the sixth inning, the umpires removed the players from the field, and the game was delayed for an hour-and-a-half. When the game resumed, Bahramzadeh did not return to the mound. Instead, Matt Applegate and Gerardo Esquivel pitched the last 3 1/3 innings of shutout baseball for the Cats. Of Bahramzadeh’s start, Coach Brad Hill said:
That was a great start by him. We needed that, and had to have that. He gave it to us, which gave us a chance. We have game one under our belt, but we still have a lot of work left to do this weekend. It sure feels nice to have the first one under our belt and it all starts with the guy on the mound giving us a great start.
This was the first conference shutout for K-State (23-27, 4-15 in the Big 12) since last season’s shutout of Oklahoma, also by a 2-0 score. It was K-State’s first shutout of KU (19-30, 4-14) since a 5-0 win back in the 2008 season. The Cats will close out the home portion of their season on Saturday and Sunday versus the Jayhawks, before finishing conference play on the road against Texas Tech in a 3-game set next weekend. If KSU is able to overtake the KU for the eighth and final spot in the conference tournament, those games will begin on May 23, in Oklahoma City.