Step one of K-State’s final charge is complete.
TCU got on the board first, plating a run in the second inning. But K-State answered immediately, Cameron Thompson scoring on a Kamron Willman single in the bottom of the inning. Two innings later the BatCats took the lead for good as Thompson and Terrence Spurlin smashed back-to-back homers. TCU got one back in the fifth but the Cats again responded when Caleb Littlejim knocked in Zach Kokoska on a single and an error.
And for the offenses, that was that. TCU got 3 1⁄3 innings of scoreless relief, but Wicks (6-3) hung around and then handed off to Eric Torres with two out in the eighth; Torres got his first save of the season by striking out all four batters he faced.
The outing was the longest of the season for Wicks, and he departed with 221 career strikeouts. That leaves him only three shy of the school record holder, Andy Replogle. Torres, meanwhile, has extended his scoreless streak to 17 innings.
The win leaves K-State at 30-20 (9-13 Big 12) and, with Oklahoma’s loss to Baylor, in sole possession of sixth place. Unfortunately, that very same Baylor win means K-State cannot improve their position; at the same time, it’s a huge one-game lead now as one more win will almost certainly seal sixth as the opponents of the three teams tied for seventh — Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Kansas — are Baylor, Texas, and Texas Tech.
Of course, the reason West Virginia and Kansas matter now is that the Mountaineers upset Texas last night and Kansas upset Texas Tech. As a result, K-State can still theoretically finish in dead last, although the idea of either team sweeping their Texan opponents is almost absurd. Regardless, K-State could potentially clinch the sixth seed tonight. Game time is 6:00 at Tointon and on ESPN+.
Today’s Sports Extra sees Austin Siegel introducing readers to Tyrone Taleni, the pride of Samoa.
Athlon has released their pre-season All-Big 12 team, and there are two Wildcats on the first squad: Deuce Vaughn, listed at all-purpose, and punt returner Phillip Brooks. Center Noah Johnson is the only K-State representative on the second team; offensive lineman Josh Rivas and safety Jahron McPherson earned third-team honors, and defensive lineman Eli Huggins is on the fourth team.
In yesterday’s Sports Extra, Siegel connects with Brookelynn Entz to explain exactly why it was so important for her to return for one more season before embarking on her pro career, and why she thinks Kansas State and NWSL Kansas City are so similar.
Track and Field (and Basketball)
KSHB’s Tod Palmer, in his ongoing countdown of Kansas City-area Olympians as we lurch toward Tokyo, writes about Atlanta 1996 decathlete Steve Fritz, better known in Manhattan now as Mr. Susie. Tuesday, Palmer revisited Rome 1960 gold medalist Bob Boozer, and last Thursday introduced readers to K-State’s first medalist, Paris 1924 bronze medalist Ivan Riley (400m hurdles).