Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
With a show of offensive firepower in the first two games of the Manhattan Regional Tournament, K-State was hoping to generate runs against an Arkansas team that had just finished up a game against Bryant University a couple hours before the first pitch. And although the Wildcats struggled to find the magic that allowed them to score 20 against Wichita State and another seven against Bryant, the bullpen put together a remarkable performance to send K-State to its first ever Super Regional berth.
The Razorbacks jumped out to an early lead, scoring all three of their runs in the first inning to put K-State in a dangerous hole. Starting pitcher Blake McFadden allowed hits from the first two batters he faced before allowing three runners to score in the first. In the second inning he found himself in another hole, and was removed after loading the bases with just 1.2 innings of work. However, Gerardo Esquivel forced the next batter to pop out and went 4.1 scoreless innings to record the win while only allowing one hit.
K-State began its rally by scoring two runs in the fourth inning, narrowing the gap 3-2. Then in the seventh a string of peculiar plays put the Wildcats up for good. With two runners on base, Arkansas decided to walk Jared King and force an out on the next play. However, on the second thrown ball a wild pitch allowed Ross Kivett to score from third base. Another wild pitch on ball four against King allowed Tanner Witt to score from third as well. Those plays put K-State up 4-3, and would be the final runs scored in the game.
K-State has now won 44 games, which makes this the winningest season in school history. 16 teams qualify for the Super Regionals, which is a best-of-3 competition. The Wildcats will travel to Corvallis, OR to take on the Oregon State Beavers, with the winner advancing to the College World Series in Omaha. Oregon State (48-10) defeated Texas A&M 6-1 last night to advance.