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Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

Baseball finishes strong in TCU series finale after dismal opening

Bat ‘Cats come alive in Game 3 to salvage series at Fort Worth
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Junior+Kaelen+Culpepper+stands+at+bat+against+OSU.+K-State+won+the+game+7-2+Saturday%2C+April+20.+
Alexis Forgy
Junior Kaelen Culpepper stands at bat against OSU. K-State won the game 7-2 Saturday, April 20.

Editor’s Note: Wording in the first sentence was adjusted for clarity. 

 

Kansas State baseball avoided a series sweep at TCU, falling 2-1 in the series, but picking up the team’s first conference win at Fort Worth in the series finale. 

The Wildcats — 26-17, 10-11 in Big 12 — felt the Horned Frogs’ wrath immediately, as TCU put up a whopping 13 strikeouts and downed K-State 12-0 in the opener. TCU starter Payton Tolle had seven strikeouts in the blowout. 

TCU — 26-16, 10-14 in Big 12 — scored one run in the first inning before exploding for eight runs in the bottom of the second and third. K-State struggled to respond, putting the series opener in TCU’s hands. 

Game 2 looked better for K-State. In the first inning, center fielder Brendan Jones and right fielder Nick English both brought a runner home to give K-State an early 2-0 lead. 

TCU responded, scoring off a wild pitch in the bottom of the first, but in the second inning K-State kept unloading. Left fielder Chuck Ingram launched a home run toward right field to make the score 3-1. 

Unfortunately for K-State, TCU had enough, putting up a five run fourth inning to take control of the game. The Wildcats put up one more run in the fifth inning, but it was all she wrote. TCU walked away with a 7-4 win. 

The series finale was the second game of two on Saturday. A doubleheader was put in place to avoid inclement weather Sunday. 

K-State came out hot in the first inning of the finale, fuming from the previous two outings. Jones got things started with a home run, hammering the ball toward right field. English contributed a run as well. 

In the bottom of the third, English found himself coming around to score again, courtesy of shortstop Kaelen Culpepper hitting the second home run of the game. Culpepper stayed hot in the fifth as he doubled to left center, allowing second basemen Brady Day and English to reach home for K-State. 

TCU put up a fight, putting up two runs in the bottom of the fifth and once more in the bottom of the sixth inning. However, All-American reliever Tyson Neighbors came in clutch, retiring 10 out of 13 batters he faced to close out the game 6-3. 

“That was a long, challenging day with a quick turnaround after a night game,” head coach Pete Hughes said in a statement from K-State Athletics. “… [Tyson Neighbors’] extended outing was dominant and kept us in control.”

The Wildcats next play at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 1 in Nebraska. The Wildcats then will return home for the Sunflower Showdown series versus rival Kansas, which won its last six contests. 

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