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Kansas State Collegian

Kansas State Collegian

The independent student news publication at Kansas State University

Kansas State Collegian

K-State baseball falls to Virginia in Super Regional

Battle of clutch batting favors Virginia in fight for the College World Series
Grace Parks
Pitcher Blake Dean walks off the field against BYU on May 18. Dean, a freshman, helped the Wildcats reach the 2024 Super Regionals and will aim to be key to the Wildcats taking the next step.

Postseason host Virginia proved successful against Kansas State in the Super Regionals, outlasting the Wildcats for a two-game sweep, 7-4 and 10-4. 

“Disappointed for our program, but happy to have taken the next step,” head coach Pete Hughes said. “We came to Kansas State to get to Omaha, we don’t exactly know what it looks like, but we can see it.” 

The Wildcats finish with a 35-26 record while advancing to the second Super Regional in program history. 

In Friday’s opener, the Cavaliers had little breathing room as the bats favored K-State early, holding a 3-0 lead going into the bottom of the fifth. Center fielder Brendan Jones tripled on an error to open the game before scoring, and shortstop Kaelen Culpepper hit a two-RBI double in the third inning. 

The bottom of the fifth saw a turning point for Virginia, earning two runs. Two additional runs came in the bottom of the sixth to tie, giving the Cavaliers its first lead of the series.

The Wildcats retaliated in the top of the seventh as first baseman David Bishop homered the ball to right center, bringing the game to a tie at four runs apiece.

In a clutch series of events, Virginia hit a go-ahead three-run home run by second baseman Henry Godbout in the seventh to secure the series opener 7-4.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Hughes said. “You want to play these important games in the month of June. It’s resiliency and it’s urgency to get back in this thing.”

Home runs continued to fill the sky in the second game of the series. In the top of the first, Virginia right fielder Casey Saucke homered to left field — plating one of two Cavaliers runs in the top of the first. 

Culpepper nearly launched his own home run, hitting a sacrifice fly to allow Jones to take it home in the bottom of the first. Right fielder Nick English also scored shortly after to tie the game at two apiece.

Virginia scored two more runs in the top of the fifth, but K-State quickly responded again with a home run from Jones in the bottom of the fifth. 

Another run would not come until the top of the eighth when Virginia extended their lead to 5-3. K-State responded with another home run, this time from designated hitter Kyan Lodice, in the bottom eighth. 

In the top of the ninth, Virginia unloaded runs all over K-State. Off a triple and double, the Cavaliers connected for five runs and would walk away the clear victor, punching its ticket to the College World Series in Omaha, winning 10-4.

After an eventful postseason that almost saw K-State reach its first College World Series, the Wildcats’ season is over once and for all.

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