Kansas State coach Brad Hill pulled off the surprise move of the Wildcats’ super regional against Oregon State by deciding to start freshman Jake Matthys against the Beavers in the deciding game three on Monday night.
Surprising not because Matthys hadn’t earned the right to be out there, but surprising because it was the first start of the year for the Big 12 freshman of the year and All-Big 12 relief pitcher, who had been closing out games for the Wildcats all season.
Hill’s move was a direct response to Oregon State’s early onslaught in a 12-4 win over K-State in game two on Sunday in which the Wildcats’ pitching staff was shelled and put the team in a 7-0 hole.
Matthys, the winning pitcher in Saturday’s game , lasted 4 1/3 innings while giving up three hits, two earned runs and striking out five. Matthys gave up a two-run home run to Danny Hayes in the second inning — the fourth home run given up by K-State pitchers in three games — but bounced back by striking out the side for Oregon State in the third inning.
The Beavers’ final run against Matthys, who gave way to Gerardo Esquivel in the fifth, was set up by third baseman RJ Santigate’s team-leading 15th error on a ground ball from Bryan Barnes that allowed Barnes to reach second. Barnes scored on a double by Kavin Keyes.
Wetzler was the Beavers’ No. 1 starter last season, but took somewhat of a backseat this season with the emergence of freshman Andrew Moore, who got the win over K-State on Sunday, and is a national pitcher of the year semifinalist. Mike Boyd, who pitched the super regional opener, is Oregon State’s other weekend starter.