Kansas State could've mailed it in Friday afternoon against Baylor.
The top-seeded Wildcats trailed by five runs early, and their Big 12 Tournament title game hopes wouldn't have been impacted at all with a loss.
Kansas State battled back from behind twice Friday, though, and pulled away with a five-run ninth inning to beat Baylor 13-9 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, setting up a de facto semifinal Saturday with Oklahoma.
Even if Kansas State had lost Friday, it would've advanced to Sunday's Big 12 Tournament championship game with a win over the Sooners, because both teams would have finished pool play with identical records, but the Wildcats are seeded higher.
Kansas State coach Brad Hill acknowledged that Friday's game virtually meant nothing, and said it was on his mind when Baylor took a 5-0 lead after three innings.
“I battled that a little bit today, quite honestly,” Hill said. “One reason why the pool play isn't necessarily the best format, is the game didn't really mean anything for this tournament.”
Still, Kansas State (41-16) wants to host an NCAA regional next week, and a loss Friday could've hurt its chances.
“It is tough knowing that this game doesn't necessarily matter in our advancement of the tournament,” said KSU center fielder Jared King, who was 2 for 4 Friday with three runs scored.
“It's hard to come back from a 5-0 deficit. I really, honestly don't think anybody was worried when we were down 5-0. If we're playing baseball and we're playing for Kansas State, no matter if we need the win or not, we're gonna try to win as hard as we can.”
Baylor led 7-4 after five innings Friday, but Kansas State took its first lead with a four-run sixth.
The Bears retook the lead in the bottom of the eighth when Cal Towey was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
But in the top of the ninth, Kansas State's Jon Davis hit a two-run single that gave the Wildcats a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
The Sooners and Wildcats met last weekend in Manhattan, Kan., with KSU taking two of three games in the series. Hill said he hopes Friday's win secured his team a home regional.
“I'd like to toot our horn a little bit for hosting right now,” Hill said. “Big 12 champions, get a couple wins here, we haven't let up any and we have over 40 wins.”