With the possibility of a tie looming as rain fell at Kauffman Stadium, Carson Shaddy raced home on a wild pitch to give Arkansas a victory Tuesday in Kansas City, Mo.
The Razorbacks (33-10) went back and forth with Kansas State (21-20) for nine innings before Shaddy’s run lifted them a 6-5 win in the 10th.
It was a fitting way to end a game that both teams failed to put away much earlier in the night.
In the eighth and ninth innings alone, Arkansas and Kansas State were a combined 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight runners on base.
That trend continued for the Wildcats in the 10th, as they loaded the bases but failed to score. Arkansas reliever Jacob Kostyshock – who picked up his first career victory – struck out Cameron Thompson on a full count to end the threat.
Shaddy led off the Razorbacks’ half of the 10th with a single and advanced to third on a pair of groundouts sandwiched around an intentional walk.
He scored the game-winning run when Kansas State reliever Tyler Eckberg’s pitch got away from catcher Josh Rolette.
Just getting to that point required Arkansas to overcome two deficits earlier in the game.
Kansas State scored first on a solo home run by Jake Scudder in the second inning. That was enough for four innings, as Jared Marolf and Bryce Ward stymied the Razorbacks, who managed just one hit.
They finally got things rolling in the fifth thanks to a couple of lineup changes by head coach Dave Van Horn.
Dominic Fletcher reached on a pinch-hit single and then Evan Lee – also pinch hitting – gave Arkansas the lead with a two-run single. Chad Spanberger added a run with an RBI double in the next at bat to make it 3-1.
After getting one of those runs back in the sixth, Kansas State tied the game in the seventh on an RBI single by Will Brennan, who fouled off six straight pitches before delivering the hit up the middle.
Quintin Crandall followed that with a two-run home run, giving the Wildcats a 5-3 edge.
It was a brief lead, though. Lee knocked in his third RBI of the game with a fielder’s choice and Luke Bonfield tied it up with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh.
The Razorbacks used nine pitchers, with seven combining to throw the final five innings of the game.
Redshirt freshman right-hander Kevin Kopps got the start and retired six of the seven batters he faced, with his only blemish the homer by Scudder.
His scheduled two innings were backed up by freshman left-hander Matt Cronin, who scattered two hits and one walk across three scoreless innings while striking out five.
Here is a look at how all nine pitched in Tuesday’s game:
At the plate, Arkansas’ 3-5 hitters – Bonfield, Grant Koch and Jared Gates – were a combined 0 for 12, while the two players off the bench – Lee and Fletcher – combined to go 3 for 5.
It was the final non-conference game of the regular-season for the Razorbacks, who return to action with a three-game series against Ole Miss beginning Thursday at Baum Stadium.
First pitch of Game 1 is scheduled for 6 p.m. and it will be televised on the SEC Network.