John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
In what has become a banner year for athletics at Kansas State, the Wildcat baseball mounted a sensational comeback over the weekend to defeat the Jayhawks 9-6 on Saturday to retain sole possession of first place in the Big 12. After giving up the first six runs of the game to the Jayhawks, K-State scored nine straight – including three in the ninth inning – to down KU and retain sole possession of first place tie in the conference. They completed the sweep with a 7-3 victory in Lawrence on Sunday after winning the first game of the series 4-3 on Friday.
With a four game win streak and 14-7 conference record, K-State has cracked open tight race for first place over Oklahoma and West Virginia, who both stand two games back at 12-9. They did so after falling behind early to KU (12-12 in conference) on Saturday by giving up six runs in the first three innings while being blanked themselves. However, they were able to get some late game heroics against KU reliever Jordan Piche (6-3). Piche leads the Big 12 with a 0.71 ERA and had not allowed more than one run in 25 previous outings. However, the Wildcats were able to secure two runs in the seventh to tie the game, and then hit two home runs to score three in the ninth inning.
Completing the sweep Sunday afternoon required fewer dramatics. The Wildcats scored two runs in the top of the first inning and started off with a 5-1 lead before pulling out a 7-3 victory. Second baseman Ross Kivett had three hits in five at bats, scoring two of the teams runs. Blake McFadden (5-2) went five innings for the victory. Facing 17 batters, he allowed three hits, two runs, walked three, and struck out one.
K-State will look to lock up a regular season championship this weekend with a three game series against Oklahoma. The games will be in Manhattan, where the Wildcats are 7-2 in conference play. Oklahoma is 12-9 in the Big 12 but only 4-5 on the road.