It was a struggle, and Kansas starting pitcher Drew Morovick tossed a great game, but Kansas State ultimately battled back to beat Kansas 6-4 and win the series. The victory puts the BatCats into the Big 12 postseason tournament for the seventh time in the last eight years.
A five-run streak through the eighth and ninth innings put Kansas State over the top. Down 4-1, timely hitting from Tyler Wolfe and Shane Conlon helped bring Jake Wodtke and Carter Yagi home, while Max Brown helped Conlon score to tie the game at 4-4. Yagi later hit a two-out single to drive Clayton Dalrymple in for the winning run.
Pitching also played a part, with reliever Brandon Erickson allowing an early run, but later retiring nine of 11 batters through the sixth inning.
The final game of the series will be played today at 2 PM, as the BatCats try for the sweep. Right-hander Colton Kalmus gets the start.
On day 2 of the Big 12 Outdoor Championships, several Kansas State athletes set new school records and/or new personal best marks. The women are currently in second place with 48 points and the men are in fourth place with 43 points.
Ifeanyichukwu Otuonye became the first Wildcat to win a men's outdoor long jump title in the Big 12 era with a leap of 7.69m. This was a personal best mark for Otuonye and also beat his own Turks and Caicos national record.
Through the first four attempts, Dani Winters was firmly in second place and then fell to third behind Christina Hillman (Iowa State) and Chase Ealey (Oklahoma). But with her final attempt of 17.75m, Winters gained the lead by nearly a foot and shattered the Kansas State record in the process. She is the first Wildcat to win an outdoor shot put title since Rebekah Green in 2002, and her new personal best mark is good for No. 3 in the country.
Akela Jones' day went the opposite way. She held the lead in the women's long jump event through three rounds, but a season best jump of 6.48m from Sydney Conley (Kansas) pushed Jones into second place, and her best jump of the night, 6.43m, was not enough for first place. It was, however, good enough to move her into the top spot all-time for Kansas State women's long jumpers.
Freshman A'Keyla Mitchell qualified for the 200m final with a blistering 23.02s time (wind-assisted), a new school record. Meanwhile, her counterpart on the men's side, Terrell Smith, qualified for the 100m and 200m finals, clocking a time of 20.51s in the 200m to shatter the school record.
In the high jump, Christoff Bryan finished third behind Jacorian Duffield and Bradley Adkins (both from Texas Tech) on a day when all three cleared 7.04m. Bryan was plagued by missed attempts on the day, with eight compared to just four for Duffield. Teammates Nate Gipson (5th) and Zack Riley (7th) also finished in the top 10 for the day, adding to Kansas State's points total.
In the multi-events, Adam Deterding set a new personal best with 6,995 points in the decathlon to finish fifth, while Sarah Kolmer finished fourth in the heptathlon with 4,988 points.
The Big 12s conclude today with more field events, including the high jump finals featuring Alyx Treasure, Kim Williamson and Jones. The track finals will also be held today.
Garo Yepremian, former kicker (and hilariously inept passer) for the Miami Dolphins, passed away on Friday at the age of 70 (David Stout, New York Times). A native of Cyprus, Yepremian arrived in the United States at the age of 22, and despite speaking very little English at the time (and referring to PATs and field goals as touchdowns), he broke into professional football thanks to his left-footed kicking skills. His kicking helped the undefeated Dolphins make the Super Bowl in 1972, but he's remembered mostly for the muffed attempt at throwing the ball after a blocked kick in the big game. (I'm not old enough to have actually seen the play live, but it's an NFL Films classic that has since been shown hundreds of times).
Rest in peace, Garo. May the ball never slip through your fingers again.