MANHATTAN, KS. (KSNT) – K-State baseball rallied for a comeback in Tointon Family Stadium on Sunday to secure a series win over in-state rival Kansas.
On Friday, K-State led 3-1 in the first game of the series. In that series opener, it was the Jayhawks coming from behind to stun the ‘Cats for a 5-3 win.
Saturday’s game began in a similar manner. K-State opened with three runs in the bottom of the first. It wasn’t until the sixth inning that KU got on the board. Despite runs in the sixth and seventh of game two, Kansas didn’t come back this time.
K-State held on to win 5-2 and even the series, backed by solid pitching from Blake Adams and German Fajardo.
Those first two outings set up a big one on Sunday afternoon.
“Tomorrow’s the biggest game of the year so far,” K-State lead-off hitter Dom Johnson told 27 News after the Wildcats’ Saturday win.
“Important and critical game for our program,” K-State head coach Pete Hughes said regarding Sunday’s matchup.
In the series finale, K-State got on the scoreboard in the first inning for the third straight game in the series. Jeff Heinrich’s home run gave the Wildcats a 1-0 lead.
Kansas responded in the second with one run to tie it and then again in the fifth with two more. KU led 3-1 after five innings of play.
K-State sent Dylan Phillips, the program’s all-time home run leader, to the plate in the sixth with two runners on and two outs. Phillips popped it up and slammed his bat to the ground in frustration. This moment of frustration would quickly turn into confusion, and then joy.
KU’s center fielder misplayed the routine flyout and both K-State runners came in to score when the ball dropped for what will be credited as Dylan Phillips’ game-tying double.
With the game still even in the seventh Nick Goodwin decided to change that. Goodwin sent a solo shot well over the wall in left field to grab the lead. Kaelen Culpepper made it two home runs in one inning for K-State when he sent a two-run shot to left center.
K-State led 6-3 and would hold that lead for the remainder of the game.
Tyler Ruhl will perhaps go down as the unsung hero of the K-State victory as he pitched 4.2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen.
The series win was the first for K-State over KU since 2018.
K-State and KU both have home weekend series next. Kansas will host TCU for three games while K-State welcomes in Baylor.