K-State upsets No. 5 Texas A&M
King hits first collegiate home run in victory
MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State scored four runs in the fifth inning – including two on Jared King’s first collegiate home run – to break a 4-4 tie as the Wildcats topped No. 5 Texas A&M, 9-4, Sunday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the victory, K-State salvaged the final game of a three-game series against the Aggies and improved to 16-11 overall and 2-7 in Big 12 play. Texas A&M fell to 22-6 on the year and 7-2 in conference action.
The Aggies tied the game at four apiece in the top of the fifth on a RBI single by Krey Bratsen. Nick Martini and Jason King got the inning started with singles before Wade Hinkle sacrificed both runners into scoring position. Texas A&M starting pitcher Ross Stripling (5-2) then uncorked a pair of wild pitches to bring home two runs.
One of the wild pitches came during a swinging strikeout of Mike Kindel, allowing the K-State right-fielder to reach safely. Jared King followed by lifting his two-run homer over the wall in right-center field to double-up the Aggies at 8-4.
“I thought the kids were extremely tough today and persevered,” head coach Brad Hill said. “We were much better offensively this weekend and that was against a pretty good pitching staff. I told our hitters I wanted to win this game with offense today. I didn’t want to sit on it and rely on our pitchers to have to do it.”
Kansas State’s nine runs and 13 hits on Sunday were the most given up by Texas A&M this season as the Aggies surrendered more than five runs for just the second time this year. K-State also had 10 or more hits in all three contests after Texas A&M had allowed at least 10 in just four other games entering the weekend.
The Wildcats finished the series by hitting .308 against a pitching staff that had yielded an opponent batting average of .216 entering before play on Friday.
Martini led Kansas State by going 3-for-5 with a two-RBI double in the second inning. He also broke what is believed to be an NCAA record of consecutive games reaching base at 87-straight contests.
“He was really locked in today,” Hill said of the junior. “For him to come back after (going 0-for-4) yesterday, you can tell he was much more focused today. He had huge at-bats all day long. The streak is hard to describe. His ability to be unselfish and not swing at bat pitches for that many games is phenomenal.”
Tanner Witt, Jason King and Jared King added two hits apiece for K-State. Jason King hit a home run in the first inning – his third of the week – while Jared King drove in three RBI.
Freshman reliever Jared Moore picked up the first victory of his career, throwing 1.1 scoreless innings. The left-hander induced an inning-ending ground out with runners on the corners in the fifth inning before working around a two-out double in the sixth.
Closer James Allen recorded his eighth save of the season, just one shy of his career high set last season. The junior pitched the final three innings, surrendering two hits with no walks and a trio of strikeouts.
Texas A&M scored a pair of runs in the first inning on a RBI ground out by Jacob House, while a passed ball plated another run.
Jason King blasted his first-inning homer over the wall in right field with two outs before a Hinkle triple and a Kindel double tied the game at two apiece.
Martini’s double in the second pushed Kansas State out to a 4-2 lead, but Texas A&M knotted the game at four on RBI singles by Bratsen in the third and fifth frames. Bratsen led the Aggies by going 3-for-5 with two RBI.
K-State added a run in the seventh inning when Jared King smacked a RBI double into the gap in left-center field to push the Wildcat lead to five.