Pat McCrory looked dominant over the only hitter he faced, mowing down Drew Biery for a strikeout on five pitches to earn his first save of his career. The ninth-inning road to that point was precarious for the Longhorns.
With Texas leading 6-3, the home half of the ninth started when Carter Jurica appeared to swing at strike three on a full-count pitch from Horns' reliever Brandon Belt, but was awarded a check of swing and first base with the walk. After Jordan Cruz grounded out, Brett Scott reached on an infield single to put runners at first and second. Nate Tenbrink flied out to rightfield and the game appeared to be over when Justin Bloxom lifted a towering pop-up to shallow centerfield. The Bloxom fly was dropped by Travis Tucker allowing Jurica to score and putting runners at the corners with Texas lead trimmed to 6-4. Jason King cut the margin to 6-5 with a single to centerfield, plating Scott before McCrory came in to snuff out the fire.
The Longhorns staked claim to a 4-3 lead in the top of the fourth inning. Kyle Russell led off the frame with a solo home run on a 0-1 offering from Kansas State starter Justin Murray. Belt singled up the middle, Russell Moldenhauer drew a walk and Preston Clark put down a sacrifice bunt to put runners at second and third. Cameron Rupp plated a pair with a double down the rightfield line. After David Hernandez singled to put runners on the corners, Rupp scored the go-ahead run on a fielder's choice groundout by Tucker.
Texas (25-17, 9-10) manufactured a run in the top of the eighth inning. With two outs, Tucker singled to leftfield, stole second base, moved to third on a throwing error and scored on a wild pitch, giving the Horns a 5-3 advantage.
The UT lead ballooned to 6-3 in the visitor half of the ninth. Jordan Danks belted a leadoff home run into the trees past the right centerfield fence.
The Wildcats took advantage of a shaky first inning by UT's Chance Ruffin to draw first blood with two runs. Ruffin hit three batters and walked two as KSU scored a pair of runs without a hit in the frame.
Kansas State (19-22, 5-11 Big 12) tacked on a run when Jason King carried a 1-1 pitch from Ruffin over the rightfield wall, inflating the Wildcats' cushion to 3-0.
The Horns worked out of jams in the seventh and eighth innings. With the runners on first and second and one out, Keith Shinaberry came in to relieve Ruffin and a line-drive double play. In the eighth inning, Kansas State had runners on second and third before Belt entered the game, forcing pinch-hitter Adam Muenster into a pop up and catching Rob Vaughn looking for a strikeout.
Ruffin (5-3) earned the win allowing three runs on three hits, three walks and four hit batters while striking out six over 6.1 innings.
Murray (2-1) was saddled with the loss for the Wildcats. He allowed four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out one over 3.2 innings.
Russell, Belt, Moldenhauer and Hernandez each had two hits for Texas . Rupp led the squad with two RBI.
King led Kansas State 's offense, going 2-for-4 with one run and two RBI.
Texas and Kansas State return to Tointon Family Stadium for game two of the series Saturday at 2 p.m.