That was quite a celebration for a mid-week victory. Understandable, however, considering the circumstances. Wichita State defeated Kansas State 7-6 in 11 innings on Tuesday at Eck Stadium. Shortstop Tyler Grimes drove in the winning runs with a single into center field to stop a six-game losing streak to the Wildcats.
He’s got friends in purple, including former North High teammate Matt Applegate.
“When they tied it up, I’m like ’Gosh, I’m going to have to hear this for the rest of my life,’æ” Grimes said. “The three years I’ve been here, we haven’t beaten them. This is big for us.”
Grimes’ hit scored Don Lambert, who walked with one out and stole second, and Micah Green, who singled. A walk to Chris O’Brien loaded the bases for WSU (33-24).
Kansas State reliever Jared Moore struck out pinch-hitter Dayne Parker. That left the job to Grimes, who homered on the second pitch of the game.
Grimes took fastball low to start the at-bat.
“I was sitting on his fastball the second pitch,” Grimes said. “No matter what, I was going to swing through it. Luckily, I stayed on that pitch and hit it back up the middle.” Lambert, whose steal of second was aggressively disputed by Wildcat coaches and players, scored easily. Green beat the throw by a few feet. The pack of celebrating Shockers engulfed Grimes on the infield and carried him into right field. He emerged with a bloody lip, although he wasn’t sure how it happened.
“They’ve fought back all year long, and fallen short a number of times,” WSU coach Gene Stephenson said. “Tonight, we finally came back and got one. That’s a great sign for us.”
The Shockers beat Kansas State (31-21) for the first time since 2008 and the first time at home since 2006. They ended a streak of four straight midweek losses and won two games in a row for the first time since late April.
Beating K-State used to be part of the routine. Not recently.
“It was good for the team, good for the fans,” Green said. “It felt great.”
The Shockers led 4-0 in the second inning after two-out singles by Kevin Hall and Johnny Coy drove in runs. Preston Springer homered in the fifth inning to give WSU a 5-1 lead.
K-State’s bullpen, however, took charge of the game in the middle innings. The Wildcats retired 16 Shockers in a row after Green led off the sixth inning with a single.
Freshman starter Zach Beringer gave WSU five good innings, holding K-State to three hits. The Wildcats scored their lone run off Beringer when he balked trying to execute the fake-to-third, throw-to-first pick off play. Closer Cale Elam shut down KState’s momentum in the eighth. He struck out three and didn’t allow a hit in 2 2/3 innings.
The Wildcats scored three runs in the seventh to tie the game 5-all. They took a 6-5 lead in the 11th on Ross Kivett’s sacrifice fly.