CORVALLIS, Ore. – Kansas State scored five runs in the last two innings in a 6-2 win over the Oregon State baseball team to open the Corvallis Super Regional Saturday at Goss Stadium.
Michael Conforto hit a two-run home run in the fourth to give the Beavers a 2-0 lead but the Wildcats scored the game’s last six runs for the win. Tanner Witt tied the game on a single up the middle in the ninth on an 0-1 pitch with two outs. The single forced extra innings where Kansas State scored four runs in the 10th for the come-from-behind win.
Jace Fry took the loss for the Beavers after allowing four hits and three runs in 1 2/3 innings. The lefty dropped to 0-1 this season.
The win went to Kansas State (45-17 overall) reliever Jake Matthys, who worked the final two innings. He improved to 9-1 this season.
Joe Flattery started for Kansas State and allowed four hits and two runs in five innings of work. The lefty struck out three and walked two before being replaced by right-hander Nate Williams.
Flattery did not figure in the decision.
Neither did Oregon State (48-11) starter Matt Boyd, who threw 123 pitches in seven innings. He scattered five hits and a run while walking two and striking out three. He now has 14 quality starts in 17 appearances this season.
Oregon State head coach Pat Casey
“Kansas State played very well. We certainly had many opportunities early in the game or throughout the game. I thought that we wouldn’t have to go to extra innings. It’s tough when you get down to the last strike and you don’t get it done.”
On being in situations of playing from behind in the past and whether that can help the team…
“I hope so. Shoot, we have to win two. I like our club, I like our guys. Like I said, we didn’t do some things tonight that we needed to do. We did some things we shouldn’t have done. We had a chance to win the game even in spite of that. We just weren’t able to finish. They just kept battling and got some key hits.”
On the injury to Max Engelbrekt…
“He had a spasm in his back somehow. Right now I don’t know what his condition is, but obviously he was unable to pitch. We were comfortable with Jace (Fry). It’s just an unfortunate situation, but it didn’t have anything to do with the outcome.”
On how difficult it was to be one strike away from a win…
“It didn’t feel very good. We were one strike away and had a guy out there battling his tail off and then a guy hits a triple and the next guy singles. That’s baseball. Jace was battling his tail off. He is coming off Tommy John (surgery). We didn’t have any better options we didn’t feel at that point of time with Max going down. Shoot, Fry came in and got us out of that inning. Matt Boyd pitched well enough to win the ballgame. We didn’t score him any runs. We left runners on base and didn’t capitalize on opportunities when we had those chances. We had the lead in our ballpark and it just didn’t hold.”
Outfielder Michael Conforto
On having trouble with the sun in the outfield…
“The sun was at a difficult angle. But it’s no excuse. It’s our home field, obviously, so we know where the sun is going to be and how it plays. Sometimes that happens. I’ll take that one. I just couldn’t see it (the leadoff double in the 10th inning).”
On the approach of the team going forward…
“We take it like we always have. We’ve done this before. We did this against Oregon. We did this against Washington State. We did this against UCLA. We’ve been in this position before. Maybe the stakes are higher, but I really think this team, in front of our fans, I think will respond the way we know we can. It comes down to us playing the type of baseball we should. We just have to take all the right steps to do that.”
Pitcher Matt Boyd
On his performance on the mound…
“I just threw pitches, that’s it, down in the zone. I could have done better. I just tried to keep it down in the zone.”
On the difficulty of not getting the win after pitching a solid game
“This is a team game. That’s about it.”
Kansas State head coach Brad Hill
“That was just a tough ballgame all the way around. It was well pitched. Both teams pitched extremely well. Obviously, I think (Matt) Boyd was really tough on us. We looked really tight, confused. We just didn’t get any good swings off on him at all. He did a great job against us. I know people talk a lot about our offense, but you have to give our pitchers a lot of credit today. (Joe) Flattery, (Nate) Williams and (Jake) Matthys - those guys had to match them today, and they did. And then we found a way. That’s the way it’s kind of been all year long. Down to our last strike Ross (Kivett) comes up big and then Tanner (Witt) follows it up to get it tied. And then you bring Matthys in and I think we have a lot of confidence when he comes in to the game that we are going to be in pretty good shape.
On tough at bats against Matt Boyd…
“Looking here he had 123 pitches. So there were some competitive at bats. I think of RJ Santigate left on left, Austin Fisher left on left, just fouling pitch after pitch off. Those were at bats that wear you down. If we are up there not competing very hard, he cruises through nine innings today in 120 pitches. Again, our competitiveness at the plate allowed us an opportunity to get to the bullpen. If we hadn’t done that, we might have been in trouble, because he was that good. But he’s at 123 pitches, as a coach you’re looking to make a move.”
On what he told his team after their first Super Regional win…
“What did I tell them? I said ‘hey, it seems like we’ve been doing this all year long.’ It is what it is. It’s not any different. You’re trying to play a weekend series. It sits in the back of your mind. We’ve talked about that. We know what we are playing for, but that’s not what you do. You play pitch, inning, compete until it’s over and we see where we are at at the end of the game. That’s all we are focused on right now.”
Second Baseman Ross Kivett
On his ninth inning double…
“I hit a fastball. What was going through my head is that when it got to 3-2 I wanted to put a good swing on it. I really wasn’t trying to do too much. I knew if I could pass the stick to this guy (pointing to Tanner Witt) and (Shane) Conlon and (Jared) King, I knew we had a good chance to score a run. I don’t think there was anything special. It was just the same mentality we’ve had all year. You battle until your last strike and you battle until the last out. And it came up fortunate today.”
Outfielder Tanner Witt
On never being out of a game and continuing to battle…
“Our thought and our approach to the game is that we know we are going to score and we know we are going to get runs. The first guy (Matt Boyd) had us. He was confusing us. He could pitch inside, he could pitch away. He had all the stuff, but in the dugout it feels like we are going to score. It took a little while today, until the ninth, where we really go a couple of good hits. It’s the whole team effort. If Ross doesn’t get on there, I don’t have an opportunity to score the tying run. If Jared King doesn’t hustle a double then he doesn’t score. I think it’s just that everybody knows that we are going to score and everybody has confidence in everybody else.”