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Wentworth Strikes Out 11, Baseball Cats Clinch Big 12 Series

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MANHATTAN, Kan. (KStateSports.com) – Eleven strikeouts from Jackson Wentworth led to K-State’s eighth series win of the season, as the Wildcats defeated BYU, 2-1, Friday night at Tointon Family Stadium.

Wentworth turned in his second quality start, as the redshirt-sophomore held the Cougars to one run over his career-long eight innings to earn the victory (4-4). A native of Urbandale, Iowa, Wentworth scattered five hits and punched out a career-high 11 batters, including striking out the side in the first and sixth.

“That was an awesome college baseball game,” head coach Pete Hughes said.  It was clean with no errors and elite pitching. Jackson was as good as it gets. Your stuff has to be really good, and your repertoire has to be very deep to go through a lineup three times effectively and he was able to do that.”

The right-hander becomes the second Wildcat this season to strike out 10+ batters in a single game, joining Owen Boerema, who fanned 11 against Holy Cross (Feb. 25).

“He gave up five hits and we were lucky enough to scratch a couple of runs up there. I wish we had given Jackson a bit of a bigger lead, but we didn’t so that meant every pitch he threw was going to be a pressure pitch and he was awesome,” commented Hughes.

Tyson Neighbors comes back the day after throwing 50 pitches, it’s an incredible display of an unselfish team guy. He was outstanding and as efficient as it gets.”

Neighbors relieved Wentworth in the ninth and retired the Cougars in order, that included a pair of strikeouts. In his last eight outings, the junior right-hander has allowed just one run over 13 1/3 innings and has earned a save in six of those eight games.

“So pitching and defense are the name of the game. That’s what we saw tonight. It was a good series win for our program.”

K-State (31-21, 15-14 Big 12) held a 6-5 advantage in hits led by two from Brendan Jones, who went 2-for-4 and scored both runs. The Cougars (20-31, 6-23 Big 12) Ben Hansen suffered the loss allowing two earned runs in his six innings of work.

THE RUNDOWN
Wentworth struck out the side in the opening frame to build momentum in the Cats’ dugout as Jones laced a single into left center to lead off for the Cats offense and moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt from Kyan Lodice.

With two outs, Kaelen Culpepper punched his first hit of the series into left field to score Jones from second and take the one-run lead.

A solo homer by Parker Goff evened the score in the third but was immediately responded in the bottom of the inning with three consecutive singles, including the go-ahead single by Brady Day.

INSIDE THE BOX

  • K-State scored two runs on six hits, committed no errors, and left five runners on base.
  • BYU scored one run on five hits with no errors committed and stranded five runners on base.
  • Five Wildcats contributed hits, led by Jones going 2-for-4.
  • Day and Culpepper each drove in a run.
  • Wentworth received the victory, surrendering one run with a career-high 11 strikeouts over his eight-inning start (4-4).
  • Neighbors struck out two and picked up his eighth save of the year.
  • Hansen held that Cats to two runs on six hits in his six innings of work.
  • Three walks were issued between the two squads.
  • K-State was 3-for-8 (.375) with men on base and hit .400 (2-for-5) with runners in scoring position, while BYU hit .111 (1-for-9) with runners on base and went 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.

NOTES

  • K-State holds a 7-4 advantage in the all-time series, that includes a perfect 6-0 record in Manhattan.
  • With the win, the Cats clinched their eighth weekend series of the season.
  • K-State is 7-0 behind quality starts.
  • The Cats improved to 20-6 at home, including a 9-5 record in Big 12 action.
  • Wentworth turned in his second quality start.
  • The 13 strikeouts bring the season total to 507 which ties third all-time in K-State history.

ON DECK
The Wildcats will honor eight players Saturday as part of their Senior Day Ceremony, starting at 3:45 p.m. Players to be honored include: Brady Day, Chuck Ingram, Jaden Parsons, Danniel Rivera, Josh Wintroub, Ty Ruhl, Raphael Pelletier, and Orlando Salinas, Jr.

The series finale is slated for 4 p.m. at Tointon Family Stadium and can be seen on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ and the ESPN app, while radio coverage is available on News Radio KMAN (93.3 FM, 1350 AM). A free, live streaming audio available for all games at KStateSports.com/watch and on the K-State Sports app.

Fans can purchase tickets to the BYU series at K-StateSports.com/Tickets, call 1-800-221-CATS (2287), or stop by the K-State Athletics Ticket Office in Bramlage Coliseum.