Oklahoma State could not complete its first Big 12 Conference series sweep of the season Sunday as Kansas State defeated the 27th-ranked Cowboys, 3-2, at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
With the loss, the Cowboys fell to 27-11 overall and 7-7 in conference play.
OSU managed just six hits in the contest, two of those by Robbie Rea, and Tyler Nurdin suffered the loss on the mound to fall to 0-2.
Kansas State (28-13, 7-5), which leads the nation in hitting, got a home run from Jared King in the sixth inning that proved to be the winning run.
“Winning two out of three is certainly better than the alternative, but I really felt with holding them to three runs that it was a ballgame we should have won,” said OSU head coach Josh Holliday. “I say that out of respect to Kansas State because if you can hold a team that good to three runs, you should be in position to scrap four or five there and get the win. So I’m very disappointed with the outcome.
“Big picture, a 3-1 week is a good week, but that could have been a great week. We need a great week, and we weren’t able to finish this series the way we should have. Because of that it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. But that’s the game — when you don’t capitalize on situations that we created today, you’re gonna look back and regret that.”
The Wildcats took an early 2-0 lead in the first inning, with Blair DeBord and Austin Fisher collecting back-to-back RBI singles off Nurdin.
OSU answered with a run in the bottom of the first when Saulyer Saxon, who was hit by a pitch to open the frame, scored on a fielder’s choice RBI from Tanner Krietemeier.
The Cowboys would tie the score in the fourth as Rea blasted a solo home run to left field to make it 2-2. The homer was the senior’s third of the series and fifth of the season.
In the fifth, OSU squandered a golden scoring opportunity. Gage Green led off the inning with a triple but two batters later was thrown out at the plate after a ground ball to first base.
After keeping K-State off the scoreboard for four consecutive innings, Nurdin surrendered a leadoff home run to King to open the sixth, a shot that provided the final 3-2 margin.
The Cowboys were poised to score again in the sixth after Victor Romero delivered a leadoff double, but the OSU catcher was stranded on second after Jake Matthys retired the next three hitters.
Matthys allowed just two hits over the final 4.1 innings to improve to 6-0 on the season. In the ninth, the right-hander surrendered a leadoff single to Rea, but the Cowboys stranded pinch runner Jarrett Higgins on second base when Green struck out to end the game.
The Cowboys return to action Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. when they host Wichita State at 6:30 p.m.