As your benevolent despot related Saturday night, Kansas State closed out the regular season on a high note, dispatching the now forever 0-18 Cyclones 61-56.
That, however, was the only good news K-State got for the entire weekend. There’s also no new details on Antonio Gordon’s future.
The seeds are now set for the Big 12 Tournament. K-State is the ninth seed, and they’ll head to the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City to take on TCU on Wednesday at 5:30 prior to the 7/10 game between Oklahoma and Iowa State. Thursday, 4th-seed West Virginia faces Oklahoma State at 10:30am and top-seeded Baylor gets the winner of the K-State/TCU game at 1:30. Kansas, which stumbled away with the two-seed, plays the OU/ISU winner at 5:30, and the session closes with the 3/6 game between Texas and Texas Tech.
So with that out of the way, let’s dive straight into the dumpster, shall we?
K-State’s soccer team returned to action for its weird spring season, and held Kansas to a scoreless draw for 67 minutes. Then Brookelynn Entz, who had just a minute earlier nearly found the net, got subbed out and the Jayhawks scored a goal within 40 seconds. Kansas (6-3-1) added a second goal ten minutes later, and the Cats (3-7) went down to a 2-0 defeat at Buser Family Park.
Despite the loss Entz had a good game, as did junior defender Kursten von Klahr in her first appearance as a Wildcat after transferring from North Carolina State.
Next up for the Cats is, um, Kansas. The return game in the two-game non-conference series will be in Lawrence at noon on Saturday.
And just like that, the BatCats are 6-4 and have a series loss to Eastern Illinois on their permanent record.
Saturday, Carson Seymour gave up six runs in only five innings. Kasey Ford came on and threw four innings of shutout relief, but it wasn’t enough as the offense couldn’t scramble all the way back — though they tried. Kamron Willman got three of them back in the bottom of the fifth on a three-run homer, while sacrifice flies in the sixth and seventh by Dylan Phillips and Zach Kokoska brought K-State to within a run. But that last run never came, as Daniel Carinci’s lead-off single in the bottom of the ninth went uncashed when Alex Stevenson struck out the next three Wildcats to seal the 6-5 win for the Panthers.
No problem, right? Just get back on the horse tomorrow, right?
And everything looked swell when K-State entered the seventh inning with a 7-4 lead. A Phillips double plated Cameron Thompson in the first, but Eastern Illinois responded with a pair — both unearned — in the top of the second. Thompson and Kokoska launched back-to-back jacks in the third, and after Kokoska led off the fifth with a walk Nick Goodwin homered to make it 5-2. Phillips walked, moved to third on a wild pitch and a passed ball, and Chris Ceballos drove him home with a sacrifice fly. One out later, Terrence Spurlin singled and Willman tripled to drive him in.
The Panthers made it 7-4 with two more unearned runs in the sixth, forcing Connor McCullough from the game with two outs even through he hadn’t allowed an earned run all day, and then everything went sideways in the seventh. Eastern Illinois scored seven runs in the frame, all but one unearned; a three-run homer by Dane Toppel pushed the Panther lead to 14-7, which would be the final score.
Here are some stats to make you angry.
- The defense committed seven errors in the two games. Seven. (7). As a result, 14 of the 20 runs scored by the Panthers on Saturday and Sunday were unearned, including an absurd total of ten on Sunday. All of the runs K-State scored on Eastern Illinois were earned, so if you remove the unearned runs the BatCats win both of these games.
- The truly gutting part of the error spree is that they were all committed by guys this team needs at the plate. Willman committed three of the errors; Goodwin had two, and Phillips and Thompson each had one. All of their bats have to be in the lineup, so that leaves Pete Hughes with a huge problem that he’s got to get fixed.
- Over the two games, K-State got 92⁄3 innings from Ford and McCullough, in which they gave up eight hits, struck out seven, walked two, and gave up exactly zero earned runs. Ford doesn’t have much beef, since he came into a game K-State was already losing 6-0 and almost snuck off with a win. But McCullough, who was also victimized by the defense (and bullpen) in the 4-3 walk-off loss to New Mexico on February 22 — a game in which he departed with a 3-1 lead after seven innings, mind you — has to be livid.
K-State ends their homestand on Wednesday, the second game of a two-game set with visiting South Dakota State. Both Tuesday and Wednesday’s games will start at 6:00pm, and will be on ESPN+.
Gotta give K-State’s athletic department credit for burying the lede, as their headline for yesterday’s game was “Lee, Goodson combine for 55 at Oklahoma on Sunday”. That’s absolutely true, and you might think that with a headline like that K-State pulled off a win.
That’s a big nope.
Despite leading by a point early in the fourth quarter, K-State — come on, you know the chorus by now — got outscored 32-23 in the final frame and fell 90-81 in their regular season finale.
Ayoka Lee had a double-double, pouring in a heroic 33 points to go with 13 rebounds, while Sydney Goodson went 6-11 from three to rack up 22 points. Christianna Carr added 14, but the entire rest of the team only managed 12 points.
Still, 81 points should mean a win in most cases. So what happened? Oklahoma happened. The Sooners shot 59.7% from the floor, Gabby Gregory had 24 points, Taylor Robertson had 22, and Madi Williams added 19. Only three other Sooners scored, but they had nine, eight, and eight points respectively, coming oh so close to six players in double figures.
So ultimately, K-State just got outrun; hard to overcome that. The Cats finish the regular season 8-17 (3-15), and end up finishing in last place. Their reward will be an 8:00 game against Texas Tech on Thursday night at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City. Kansas, who finished ahead of K-State on a tiebreaker, will get TCU in the early game. On Friday, Baylor will face the KU/TCU winner, and Iowa State will play Texas in the 4/5 game; the K-State/Tech winner meets second-seeded West Virginia while third seed Oklahoma State takes on Oklahoma.
We’ve showered you with terrible news, so now some good tidings. The NCAA Cross-Country championships will be next Monday in Stillwater While K-State’s teams did not earn invites, Jaybe Shufelberger did earn a trip as a qualifying at-large competitor. It’s the first time since Laura Galvan was invited in 2014 that a Wildcat harrier has gotten the call. The event will actually be televised, airing at 10:30am on ESPNU.
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