Texas drops series opener to K-State, 4-2

The No. 5 Texas Longhorns hung a pair of early runs on No. 23 Kansas State Wildcats’ ace A.J. Morris, but were unable to hold onto the lead, falling 4-2 in Big 12 Conference baseball action Friday evening at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.
Texas (29-10, 12-7 Big 12) used the resources of an error and wild pitch to manufacture a run in the home half of the first inning. Leadoff hitter Travis Tucker reached on an error by KSU shortstop Drew Biery and moved to second on a wild pitch. A bunt single by Michael Torres put runners at the corners and Brandon Belt plated Tucker with a squeeze bunt. The Longhorns added another run in the bottom of the fourth. Kevin Keyes singled off the leg of Morris, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cameron Rupp and scored on a single by Kevin Lusson to the gap in right centerfield, to push the lead to 2-0. Texas starter Chance Ruffin worked out of various jams early in the game, including a bases-loaded situation in the second, to hold the Wildcats’ offense scoreless through five innings, but Kansas State (30-11, 9-7) knocked back-to-back home runs in the top of the sixth. With one out, Justin Bloxom hit a dinger to the buses in right centerfield and Jason King followed with a homer to the KSU bullpen in leftfield, knotting the game at 2-2. The Wildcats crafted their first lead of the game in the top of the eighth. With one out, King singled to right off UT reliever Austin Wood, stole second base and scored on a single to right by Drew Biery for the 3-2 advantage. Kansas State tacked on an insurance run in the ninth with a two out single by Nick Martini followed by a triple by Bloxom to the wall in right center. Wood (4-1) was saddled with his first loss of the season. He allowed two runs on five hits while striking out five over 2-1/3 innings. Ruffin worked 6-1/3 innings, allowing two runs on seven hits while striking out six. Morris (10-0) pitched a complete-game, allowing two runs, one earned, on eight hits and two walks while striking out five over the 9 innings. Torres was the foundation of the Texas offense, going 3-for-4 with one double and two stolen bases. Lusson went 2-for-4 with one RBI. Martini paced the Wildcats at the plate, hitting 3-of-5 five with one double. Bluxom, King and Rob Vaughn each added two hits. Texas and Kansas State return to UFCU Disch-Falk Field with the second game of the three-game series Saturday at 2 p.m.