(Courtesy: KSU Athletics)
STILLWATER, Okla. – Freshmen Blake McFadden and Jake Matthys kept the Oklahoma State hitters at bay throughout the afternoon, and Jared King hit the eventual game-winning home run in the sixth inning as Kansas State defeated the Cowboys, 3-2, Sunday at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
K-State, which salvaged the final game of the series, improved to 28-13 on the year and 7-5 in Big 12 play. It marked the first regular-season win over Oklahoma State since 2010 and the first victory in Stillwater since 2009. OSU dropped to 27-11 and 7-7 in league action.
McFadden allowed only two only runs over the first four innings, but the right-hander ran into trouble in the fifth as he surrendered a leadoff triple to Gage Green. After Green was thrown out at the plate on a one-out fielder's choice, McFadden issued a walk to put two runners on base in a 2-2 ballgame.
With two outs, K-State elected to go to Matthys (6-0) and the Spring Lake Park, Minn., native delivered with a ground ball to get out of the inning. From there, Matthys worked around a leadoff double in the sixth inning and a leadoff infield single in the ninth to toss a season-high 4.1 scoreless innings with no walks and three strikeouts.
"Two freshmen went out and showed great composure today," head coach Brad Hill said. "They made pitches and hit their spots. Those two guys really set the tone for us. We just let Jake ride. He kept throwing good stuff. He did what they did to us – he was able to throw change ups and breaking pitches in hitter's counts. You could see they were out front and confused, which made it a lot easier for us."
Matthys, who retired nine-straight batters until the ninth-inning single, now has the most wins in a season by a Wildcat relief pitcher in the Big 12 era. Matthys is one win away from tying the K-State freshman record for wins.
McFadden worked a solid 4.2 innings as he allowed a first-inning run to score on a fielder's choice and surrendered a one-out solo home run in the fourth inning off the bat of Robbie Rea, his third series. However, the Savannah, Mo., product stranded a leadoff single in the second inning and tossed a perfect third frame as he finished the game allowing only four hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
"Blake made one mistake," Hill said, "but he came right back with strikes. He competed, and that's what it was all about today."
After seeing a steady diet of change ups and curve balls in his first two at-bats, which resulted in a foul out and a walk, King waited on a 0-1 off-speed pitch and hammered it over the wall in left field to give the Cats their one-run lead. It was King's sixth home run of the season, including his third in the last five games.
"He got a mistake that stayed up," Hill said of the pitch on King's homer. "He was a little more timed on that one. They made a mistake and he got it."
King's 21st career home run put him within one of reaching the top-10 list at Kansas State.
Blair DeBord began the scoring for K-State in the first inning with a two-out RBI single to right field. Austin Fisher was next and laced a run-scoring single up the middle to make the score 2-0. It was the first of three career-high tying hits for Fisher.
Tanner Witt also recorded two base hits to pick up his team-leading 19th multi-hit game of the year. Witt now has a career-best 60 hits this season, while his 153 career singles are 10th in school history.
Oklahoma State starting pitcher Tyler Nurdin (0-2) suffered the loss in a five-inning outing with four walks and two strikeouts. Rea was the only Oklahoma State hitter with a multi-hit game as he went 2-for-4.
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