March 26, 2011
WACO, Texas - Jason King's two-run homer fueled a three-run eighth inning as Kansas State defeated No. 21 Baylor, 6-3, Saturday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark.
With the win, K-State moved to 13-8 overall and earned its first conference victory in five tries. It marked just the third victory ever for the Wildcats in Waco -- the second since 1966 -- and was also the second win for the Cats over a top-25 team this season.
Baylor fell to 15-8 overall and 2-3 in conference action.
The Wildcats led 3-0 after scoring single runs in the second, fourth and fifth innings. The Bears tied the game with three runs in the sixth, aided by a wild pitch and a pair of RBI singles from Josh Ludy and Jake Miller.
But Kansas State, which held leads late in its three previous Big 12 outings only to see them evaporate, answered in a big way.
Baylor reliever Trae Davis (3-1) came on to start the eighth inning, and the freshman walked Nick Martini on four pitches. King was next up and promptly fell behind with two strikes before battling back to work the count full. The redshirt junior then turned on an inside fastball and hammered it over the wall and inside the right-field foul pole to give the Cats a 5-3 advantage.
The Bears went back to the bullpen for Crayton Bare, but he also had trouble throwing strikes as Mike Kindel worked a walk on a full-count pitch. On came reliever Tyler Bremer, who hit Kent Urban with a pitch. Ross Kivett, who had two hits in his previous three at-bats, came through again as he laced a base hit through the right side of the infield to complete the inning and put K-State up 6-3.
"We got the big swing out of Jason, and we needed it," head coach Brad Hill said. "Ross also had the big base hit to score Kindel to give us that big third run. That third run is really big on the road. Being three runs ahead is a lot different from being two runs ahead because they got two on in the ninth and could have sacrificed those runners over. The third run didn't allow them to do that."
Wildcat left-hander Shane Conlon (1-0), who recorded a strikeout to end Baylor's rally in the sixth, pitched perfect seventh and eighth innings before James Allen worked around a pair of singles in the ninth to capture his sixth save of the year.
Conlon earned the first win of his career by retiring all seven batters he faced with a pair of strikeouts. Allen induced a ground ball double-play after the two singles, then struck out Brooks Pinckard to end the contest.
"Shane was able to come out there and give us zeros," Hill said about Conlon. "He gave us three really quick outs in the seventh inning, and James was able to work through some adversity in the ninth."
Kivett led all hitters by going 3-for-4 with three run-scoring singles in the second, fourth and eighth innings. King, Kindel and Tanner Witt collected two hits apiece, while Kindel scored a pair of runs.
Martini, who hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth to make the score 3-0, was 1-for-3 with a walk and two runs scored as he extended his nation-leading streak of consecutive games reaching base to 81.
Miller, Max Muncy and Cal Towey registered two hits apiece, while Miller and Ludy each drove in a run.
K-State and Baylor conclude their three-game conference series with a 12:30 p.m., first pitch Sunday at Baylor Ballpark. The game can be heard online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com, while listeners in the Manhattan area can hear the game on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN.