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Big 12 Tournament Game Recap: Kansas vs. Kansas State

 Matt Tallarini - World Baseball Network  |    May 21st, 2024 9:35pm EDT

Photo Courtesy of Big 12

Arlington, Texas—The two programs in the State of Kansas capped off the first day of the 2024 Big 12 Conference tournament at Globe Life Field, with the University of Kansas Jayhawks beating the Kansas State University Wildcats 2-1.

Kansas is the seventh seed in the Big 12 Conference tournament, and Kansas State is the sixth seed.

The Kansas pitching staff between starting pitcher Evan Shaw, Ethan Lanthier, Cooper Moore, Tegan Cain, and Hunter Cranton combined to allow seven hits, one earned run, five walks, and 12 strikeouts during the first game of the Big 12 Conference tournament.

The Kansas State University pitching staff with starting pitcher Josh Wintroub, Cole Wisenbaker,  Jackson Wentworth, and MLBpipeline.com No. 74 ranked Draft Prospect Tyson Neighbors allowed six hits, two earned runs, three walks, and struck out 10 in their loss to their in-state rival on Tuesday.

Kansas State’s offense left 10 runners on base during Tuesday’s loss.

Wintroub found his cool early while throwing six pitches in the top of the first inning striking out Kansas center fielder John Nett swinging, having first baseman Ben Harti ground out to second base and third baseman Kodey Shojinaga to ground out to him on a comebacker as he threw over to first baseman David Bishop for the final out of the inning.

The first run of the game did not come until the top of the fourth inning as Harti launched a 415-foot solo home run off Wintroub over the left-center field wall into the Kansas State bullpen for his eleventh tank of the season, as Kansas took a 1-0 lead.

Wintroub walked the next and final batter he faced Kansas catcher Jake English as Kansas State head coach Pete Hughes came out of the dugout to call on southpaw Wisenbaker in the top of the fourth inning.

Wintroub threw 3.1 innings with 54 pitches and allowed three hits, one earned run, one walk, and two strikeouts while facing 13 batters.

“I think Wintroub pitched a really good game today. We couldn’t get any offense going for him. I felt like nothing was falling our way for him”, Kansas State junior shortstop Kaelen Culpepper told World Baseball Network during the postgame press conference.

In the bottom of the fifth inning, Kansas State attempted to tie the game at one. The first batter of the inning, senior left fielder Chuck Ingram, drew a lead-off walk.

The next batter, junior center fielder Brendan Jones laid a sacrifice bunt to Shojinaga as he threw over to first base for the first out of the inning and advanced Ingram to second base.

A few moments later, Kansas State cracked the scoreboard for the first time as Culpepper roped an RBI single to left field, scoring senior left fielder Chuck Ingram to tie the game up at 1-1.

Kansas starting pitcher Evan Shaw did not return to the mound at the start of the bottom of the sixth inning. He threw five innings facing 22 batters with 87 pitches and allowed four hits, one earned run, four walks, and six strikeouts, while head coach Dan Fitzgerald called upon Lanthier to shut down the Kansas State offense.

During the top of the ninth inning, Kansas looked to break the tie as senior designated hitter Lenny Ashby led off with a triple off the left field wall off Neighbors.

The next batter, Kansas senior shortstop Collier Crawford broke the tie by lifting a sacrifice fly to center fielder Brendan Jones as Ashby came in to score to make it 2-1.

Fitzgerald called upon Kansas senior relief pitcher Hunter Cranton in the bottom of the ninth inning as he got Culpepper to fly out to Ingram for the final out of the game and beat Kansas State University 2-1 in the first game of the Big 12 Conference tournament.

“Great team win. Pitchers did their job. I put a good swing on the 2-2 pitch, and somehow it went out, but other than that, the guys kept battling. Lenny coming up big in the ninth, that was huge and Collier driving him in with the sacrifice fly, that’s what won us the game today, Harti told World Baseball Network during the postgame press conference after their first game win.

Kansas will play on Thursday against the winner of No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 9 TCU at Globe Life Field on May 23 at 1:30 p.m. EST on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. Oklahoma is ranked No. 8 in the country after winning the 2024 Big 12 Conference regular season title for the first time in program history.

Kansas State University will play No. 4 West Virginia University on May 22 at 10 a.m. EST on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

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Matt Tallarini - World Baseball Network
Matthew (Matt) Tallarini is the Founder and Chief Correspondent for the World Baseball Network.