Morris Powers Cats to Victory

MANHATTAN, Kan. – A Tointon Family Stadium record crowd of 4,280 saw Kansas State's A.J. Morris toss his fourth complete game of the season as the 11th-ranked Wildcats took game one of a three-game Big 12 Conference series against rival Kansas, 4-1, Friday night.

With the win, Kansas State earned its school-record 14th conference win and moved to 39-13-1 overall and 14-9-1 in Big 12 play. Kansas fell to 35-19 overall and 13-12 in conference action.

Kansas State surpassed the 2002 squad for the most conference wins in school history, which went 13-13 en route to the school's first Big 12 tournament appearance. The win also marked a school record eighth-straight victory over the Jayhawks.

Morris (12-1) allowed a run in the third inning on a Buck Afenir sacrifice fly, but was dominate the rest of the way. The right-hander sat down the Jayhawks in order the next four innings, worked around a first and third situation in the eighth and retired KU in order in the ninth to finish off the contest.

Morris struck out eight batters, the sixth time this season he struck out five or more. The Humble, Texas, product picked up his 12th win of the season to extend his single-season school record, while he moved into a tie for 10th place for single-season wins in Big 12 Conference history.

"Obviously it all starts on the mound," said head coach Brad Hill. "A.J. kept his emotions in check in a couple of situations. He was just outstanding tonight."

Justin Bloxom recorded two RBI on a single to jump-start a four-run sixth inning, while Adam Muenster and Drew Biery paced the Wildcats with two hits apiece.

Kansas starter Shaeffer Hall (4-5) took the loss after giving up three runs on five hits in 5.2 innings of work.

After just two hits in the first five innings, the Kansas State offense exploded for four runs in the sixth. Muenster led the frame off with a single to right-center field before Carter Jurica was hit by a pitch. Nick Martini followed with a bunt single to third base, which loaded the bases.

Bloxom was next and, on the first pitch he saw, looped a single into right-center field to score a pair of runs and give K-State the lead. Jason King then scorched a ball off Hall's glove to score Martini, but Hall's throw to first pulled Preston Land off the ball, allowing King to reach on an error.

Following a ground out, the Cats took advantage of the extra out as Jordan Cruz skied a sacrifice fly to right field to cap the four-run inning before Morris cruised the rest of the way to seal the victory.

Brian Heere led KU with a 2-for-4 night and also recorded the lone stolen base of the evening.

Kansas State and Kansas continue its series three-game conference series with a 6 p.m. first pitch on Saturday at Hoglund Ballpark.

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