MANHATTAN, Kan. – K-State’s Brady Day delivered the game-winning hit to give the Wildcats a 7-6 victory over TCU in the series opener at Tointon Family Stadium.
“That was a fun, crucial win for our program,” head coach Pete Hughes said on his team’s victory. “Just a great college baseball game. Great atmosphere, the back-and-forth and the importance of it.”
K-State (33-20, 13-9 Big 12) gave up a pair of runs in the top of the eighth and faced a one-run deficit heading into the final frame before a passed ball leveled the score. Day, who was the seventh Wildcat to head to the plate in the ninth, recorded the game-winning RBI as he smoked a ball into left center to snap a four-game losing streak against the Horned Frogs (31-22, 11-11 Big 12).
“I’m really proud of our guys. Once again, their resiliency was on display, they never panicked. They just keep getting back into games and believing in each other. It’s one of those special trademark wins that you can talk about when you look back on this season,” said Hughes.
Day’s game-winning single marked the Cats third walk-off of the year and second by the Hampstead, N.H. product. The Cats remain tied third in the Big 12 race alongside Texas who topped West Virginia, 12-2.
Tyson Neighbors (5-1) earned his sixth consecutive decision as the sophomore picked up the victory in relief. Neighbors, who was selected to the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Training Camp, allowed two runs (two earned) in his two innings and retired the side in the ninth with a pair strikeouts.
Owen Boerema, in his final start at Tointon Family Stadium, struck out a game-high six during his six-inning start where he allowed three earned runs on eight hits.
Six Wildcats earned a hit in the victory led by Brendan Jones and Day with two while Kaelen Culpepper drove in two RBI.
HOW IT HAPPENED
K-State scored in three consecutive innings to start off the final series of the 2023 regular-season.
After setting down the Frogs in order in the opening frame, Cash Rugely put the Cats on the board when the senior blasted his seventh homer of the season 394-feet over the left center wall.
Kyan Lodice doubled the lead as he launched the team’s 75th homer of the year in the second.
TCU plated a pair of runs in the third to level the score at 2-all with Anthony Silva’s two-run RBI single with the freshman avoiding the shift.
The Cats earned back the runs with Culpepper’s two-RBI single into left center to take back the lead, 4-2.
TCU chipped away at the lead before tying the game 4-4 in the seventh.
Cam Brown relieved Frogs’ starter Louis Rodriguez in the fourth, retiring 10 straight until Roberto Pena doubled to break up the junior’s three-inning no-hitter. Brown pelted Cole Johnson in the helmet in the next at bat to force the Frogs to make their second call to the pen.
Raphael Pelletier laid down the sacrifice bunt to the mound, but TCU was unable to make the play at third to load the bases until Brendan Jones walked on four straight pitches to take back the lead, 5-4.
The Horned Frogs took their first lead of the night after plating two runs with Karson Bowen’s two-RBI double into the left field corner. An eventful sequence occurred prior to Bowen’s double as head coach Pete Hughes was ejected from the game.
Trailing 6-5 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Cole Johnson walked to lead off the rally before stealing his 12th base of the year. Pinch hitter Dom Hughes was hit to put runners on first and second until Jones bunted for a single to load the bases.
TCU’s catcher let the ball get past him to allow Johnson to come sliding head first, tying the game 6-6.
With two outs and runners in scoring position, Day torched the 0-1 pitch into left field avoiding the diving efforts of Luke Boyers to walk-off the series opener.
INSIDE THE BOX
- Day hit a walk-off single to lead off the series
- K-State scored seven runs on eight hits with no errors and five left on base
- Cats recorded their 19th multi-home run game of the year
- Six Wildcats recorded a hit; two had multiple
- Jones went 2-for-4 with an RBI
- Culpepper had a team-high two RBI
- Neighbors picked up his sixth straight decision and moved to 5-1
- The Cats bullpen combined for three runs, four strikeouts and two walks
- Boerema struck out a game-high six
- TCU scored six runs on 12 hits with nine left on base and no errors
- Wright (2-2) received the loss in relief
- Horned Frogs called on the bullpen four times
- Cats are tied third in the league with Texas
- K-States has hit 75 homers this season tying third all-time
- Day extended is on-base streak to 33
- Jones has recorded a hit in seven straight games
- Cats broke a four-game losing streak against the Frogs
- TCU leads the all-time series, 26-13
- K-State is 9-7 when playing TCU at home
- Cats moved to 19-6 at home in 2023
Game two between the Cats and Horned Frogs is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday inside Tointon Family Stadium. The entire conference series can be seen on the Big 12 Now on ESPN+ with radio coverage on News Radio KMAN (93.3 FM, 1350 AM) while a free live stream audio is available at kstatesports.com/watch.