MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State scored in all but one inning, including five times in the fifth, as the 21st-ranked Wildcats defeated Missouri, 11-5, Sunday afternoon at Tointon Family Stadium.
Kansas State, which salvaged the third game of the series, improved to 29-11 overall and 8-7 in Big 12 play. The Tigers fell to 21-20 and 8-10 in conference action.
Much like Missouri did on Saturday afternoon, Kansas State took advantage of its opponent’s mishaps as the Tigers committed five errors, walked three batters and hit two others, while the Cats tallied double-digit hits for the 27th time this season.
“We really had to play with a sense of urgency today,” Coach Brad Hill said. “They made some mistakes that we capitalized on, but that’s baseball. That just how it happens at times and we took advantage of it today.”
Carter Jurica led the way for Kansas State as the sophomore went 3-for-3 with three RBI, a walk and scored a run. It was Jurica’s 19th multi-hit game of the season, which leads the team. Dane Yelovich was 2-for-4 with three runs scored and also stole two bases, pushing his season total to 20.
Senior Jordan Cruz recorded a 2-for-4 outing with a triple his third of the season and put the biggest dent into the game with a three-run homer that capped the K-State fifth.
Kansas State scored all five of its runs in that inning on just the one hit as Jurica and Nick Martini worked consecutive one-out walks against Missouri starter Nick Tepesch (3-4). Following a strikeout, the two base runners pulled off a double steal and the throw from Mizzou catcher Trevor Coleman to third wound up in left field for an error, scoring Jurica and moving Martini to third.
Jason King was next and lifted what appeared to be an inning-ending fly ball to center field. But Missouri's Ryan Lollis, who had already dropped a fly ball in the third for an error, had the ball deflect off his glove, allowing Martini to score and extend the inning.
Missouri then called on relief pitcher Kelly Fick. He hit Drew Biery with a pitch and Cruz followed by hammering the first pitch he saw over the right field wall to push K-State out to its largest lead at 8-2.
“Cruz was really locked in today,” said Hill. “The seniors really knew how important this game was today. You can’t get swept at home. That’s what really puts you in a hole that you have to fight out of. I think our seniors really kept everyone focused and into it today, so I really credit them that the team didn’t feel too sorry for ourselves after the last two games.”
Mizzou fought back in the sixth inning when a single, a hit-by-pitch and a fielder’s choice plated three runs and cut the deficit to 8-5, but Thomas Rooke retired the Tigers in order over the final three innings to record his third save of the season.
Freshman reliever Evan Marshall (2-2) was credited with the win after escaping a jam in the fourth with a double play before throwing another groundball double play to face the minimum in the fifth.
K-State starter Todd Vogel was efficient through three innings as he allowed three hits, but faced just two over the minimum. He ran into trouble to start the fourth as he allowed a walk and hit a batter, both of whom eventually came around to score for the Tigers.
The Cats scored a run in the first inning when Adam Muenster led off with a walk and stole second base. Following a walk to Jurica, Martini put down a sacrifice bunt before Justin Bloxom drove home Muenster on a groundout.
Following a scoreless second, the Cats plated another run in the third as Yelovich hit a leadoff single and stole second base. After Muenster flew out that moved Yelovich to third, Jurica hit a fly ball to center that was dropped Lollis, allowing Yelovich to score the Wildcats’ second run of the game.
Rob Vaughn drove home the Cats' third run on a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning after Cruz tripled, while Biery hit his seventh homer of the season in the seventh. The two other Wildcat runs came on a pair of RBI singles by Jurica in the sixth and eighth innings.
Next action for Kansas State is a three-game series at Texas beginning Friday, April 24, at Disch-Falk Field in Austin, Texas.