No. 4 Red Raiders Rally to Stun Cats, 7-6

LUBBOCK, TX – No. 4 Texas Tech rallied to score three in the ninth inning Sunday afternoon, capped by a walk-off, two-run home run by Jace Jung, to stun K-State 7-6 in the series finale at Dan Law Field at Rip Griffin Park.

K-State (15-16, 1-8 Big 12), who had led throughout the entire game to that point, possessed a 6-4 lead as the game went to the bottom of the ninth. TTU’s Zac Vooletich sparked the inning with a leadoff home run to bring the Red Raiders (27-8, 7-2 Big 12) within a run.

Cole Stilwell followed with a single before Jung, on the eighth pitch of the at-bat, belted the game-winning blast off reliever Blake Adams. The Big 12’s preseason player of the year, Jung’s second hit of the series completed the three-game sweep for Texas Tech and improved its home record to 18-1.

“That’s why you play nine innings,” said head coach Pete Hughes. “You have to really build and extend a lead against this offense in this place. We left 10 runners on base. Everyone will want to talk about the last swing and the last play of the game, but we left a lot of runs out there against a team that you really have to extend when you do have the lead. Unfortunately, we didn’t do it today.”

The Wildcats raced out to a 5-2 lead, scoring in four consecutive innings and getting solo home runs from both Nick Goodwin and Dominic Johnson in that stretch, to chase TTU starter Chase Hampton after just three innings.

With a run in and looking to inflate its three-run advantage, K-State had two men on with one out in the fifth. Reliever Mason Molina picked up back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning and strand two.

An inning later, TTU intentionally walked Dylan Phillips to load the bases with two outs. This time, it was reliever Josh Sanders who wiggled out of the jam by forcing a threat-ending groundout.

Following Phillips’ intentional base on balls, Sanders and Shay Hartis combined to retire the next eight Wildcat hitters. Phillips roped a one-out double in the ninth and Goodwin brought him home with his second RBI hit of the contest, ending Hartis’ outing.

Tech’s closer, Trendan Parish, struck out two to end the ninth and bring his offense back to the plate down two.

K-State choke Connor McCullough pitched into the seventh, giving way to Adams with one out and two on in the frame. McCullough gave up two runs over his first six innings of work with two more coming in the seventh, as he finished with five strikeouts over 6 1/3.

“Connor was really good, he kept them off balance,” Hughes said of his starting pitcher. “I know they got 10 hits off of him, but I thought his stuff was good. That’s a good offense and it’s a tough day to pitch (with the wind), so I thought he handled the conditions well and put us in position to win a game.”

Adams got out of the seventh with a pair of strikeouts, but also gave up an RBI single to Ty Coleman that inched the Red Raiders within a run at 5-4.

K-State recorded a leadoff hit in four of the first six innings, but finished the game with just two hits with runners in scoring position (2-for-13) and one with two outs (1-for-9).

Four Wildcats produced two hit games in Kaelen CulpepperGoodwin, Phillips and Josh Nicoloff while four drove in a run – led by Goodwin’s two RBI.

Nicoloff started a pair of inning-ending double plays, coming in the second and third innings.

Texas Tech was led by Stilwell’s 3-for-4 effort while Jung and Vooletich each homered and drove in two.

TTU hit .474 with runners on base and .385 with runners in scoring position.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
K-State’s first hit of the day was a solo homer by Goodwin in the second inning. Nicoloff following with a single and later scored on a sacrifice fly lifted by Justin Mitchell to stake the Cats to a 2-0 run lead after the top of the second.

K-State hit a leadoff homer for the second straight inning when Johnson connected on his fourth home run of the season in the third, extending the lead to three runs.

Texas Tech plated its first run in the bottom half of the frame and put two runners on with just one out. Jung hit a sharp line drive to Nicoloff at first, who made the catch and dove headfirst into the bag at first to complete an unassisted, inning-ending double play.

Culpepper pushed the K-State lead back to three runs with a two-out RBI double that scored Mitchell from first.

Much like the third inning, TTU had a run in and the tying runs on the base paths. Nicoloff again sparked an inning-ending double play, this time a 3-6 twin killing.
K-State threatened in the sixth, as the Cats loaded the bases with two outs after Tech intentionally walked Phillips to bring Goodwin to the plate. Sanders induced a threat-ending groundout to end a string of four straight innings with runs by the K-State offense.

RBI singles from Stilwell and Coleman in the seventh inched the Red Raiders within a run at 5-4. Adams, who inherited two runners with one out in the inning, struck out two to strand runners on the corners.

After Phillips scored on an RBI single from Goodwin to extend the lead to two in the ninth, Vooletich hit the first pitch of the ninth inning over the left field fence to trim the K-State lead to just a single run. Jung, with Stilwell standing on first base, hit a walk-off two-run home run on the eighth pitch of the at-bat.

INSIDE THE BOX SCORE

  • K-State scored six runs on 11 hits with one error and left 10 on base.
  • Texas Tech scored seven runs on 15 hits, committed one error and stranded eight baserunners.
  • Jung hit a walk-off two-run home run in the ninth.
  • The Wildcats never trailed in the game until Jung’s homer.
  • K-State scored in four consecutive innings (five runs).
  • The Cats left the bases loaded in the sixth and stranded two in the ninth.
  • Four Wildcats registered two-hit games, as seven players recorded a hit in the contest.
  • Goodwin and Johnson each homered, with Goodwin turning in a team-leading two RBI.
  • McCullough pitched into the seventh inning, allowing two runs over the first six innings before surrendering two in the seventh.
  • McCullough finished with four strikeouts over 6 1/3 while scattering 10 hits and two walks.
  • Adams suffered the loss after giving up three runs in the ninth.
  • Adams went 1 2/3 innings in relief of McCullough, striking out three and yielding five hits.
  • K-State recorded a leadoff hit in four of the game’s first six innings.
  • Stillwell led Texas Tech with his 3-for-4 effort.
  • Each team hits two home runs.
  • TTU’s Hampton went three innings with three earned on three hits while walking three in the start.
  • Parish earned the win after striking out two in 2/3 of an inning.
  • K-State went 1-for-9 with two outs and 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
  • Texas Tech hits .385 with runners in scoring position and .250 with two outs.

NOTES

  • K-State played its first-ever collegiate baseball game on this date in 1897, as the Kansas Agricultural College, defeating Fort Riley 4-3.
  • Texas Tech leads the all-time series 49-31-1 (41-28-1 Big 12).
  • K-State is 8-27-1 on the road against the Red Raiders, last winning in 2012 (12 straight losses).
  • TTU marked the third straight top-20 opponent and second straight in the top 10 K-State has faced.
  • K-State is 1-9 against ranked teams this season and 1-6 against the top 10.
  • The loss marked the second walk-off defeat for K-State this season.
  • Texas Tech improved to 18-1 at home while K-State dropped to 4-10 on the road (0-6 Big 12).

UP NEXT

K-State returns to Tointon Family Stadium to host Texas, with the three-game series beginning Thursday at 6 pm The entire series can be seen on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and the ESPN app. Radio coverage can be heard on News Radio KMAN (93.3 FM, 1350 AM). Free, live audio is also available at K-StateSports.com/Watch.

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