The West Virginia Mountaineers (18-17, 3-7) defeated the Kansas State Wildcats (16-22 2-11) in game one of a three game series in Morgantown at Monongalia County Ball Park Friday night 8-5.
West Virginia starting pitcher BJ Myers struggled to start the game, giving up two runs in the first inning. He gave up back to back hits then Cameron Thompson to ground out into a double play to shortstop Jimmy Galusky.
Myers walked the next batter and with guys on first and third with two outs, Myers had the ball get away from him on an attempt to pick off Drew Mount at first base scoring Will Brennan from third.
Wildcat first baseman Trent McMaster hit a single into left field scoring Mount and Kansas State had an early 2-0 lead.
Kansas State added two more runs in the third inning. With two men on, Drew Mount hit the ball off the end of his bat and it went down the third base line clearing the bases with a double.
The Mountaineers were finally on the board in the third inning when Brandon White, Darius Hill and Marques Inman started the inning off loading the bases with consecutive base hits.
Kyle Gray hit into a 6-4-3 double play but putting the ball in play scored White from third.
West Virginia cut into the Kansas State lead with White, Hill and Inman all starting off the bottom of the fifth inning with singles. Inman’s single through the left side scored White from second base and Kyle Gray’s single brought home Hill to get within one of the Wildcats 4-3.
Myers started the seventh inning walking the first two batters before West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey brought in Shane Ennis to clean things up.
Kansas State’s TK McWhertor laid down a bunt to move advance the runners into scoring position.
With two outs Ennis intentionally walked Will Brennan loading the bases.
Kyle Barfield scored after a pickoff attempt on an errant throw from catcher Ivan Gonzalez to first base and the Wildcats extended their lead 5-3.
The Mountaineers responded in the bottom of the seventh inning. First Baseman Marques Inman hit a shot to left center that hit just under the top of the wall for a double putting himself into scoring position.
Kyle Gray drew a walk and Tyler Doanes laid down a bunt to advance the runners, but pitcher Alex Belch mishandled the ball and the bases were loaded with no outs.
All the runners advanced on a wild pitch and Inman scored from third and Gonzalez grounded out to the shortstop but scored Kyle Gray on the play.
With the game tied at five in the eighth inning, the Mountaineers took the lead with a single up the middle from Braden Zarbnisky, then stole second base, took third after a bad throw from catcher TK McWhertor and scored on a wild pitch that also walked Brandon White.
“When the game is on the line, your best players need to step up and he did that by leading off that inning with a base hit.” Said Mazey. “That’s him. When he’s playing like that, we’re winning.”
Darius Hill extended the Mountaineers lead to three with a two-run bomb over the right/centerfield wall. “Game on the line, a one run game he steps up big and hits a two-run homer, that’s what veteran players are supposed to do in big games.” Said Mazey.
BJ Myers had that slow start but settled in. “I hit my spots a little bit better. Got my breaking ball over the top a little bit better. Threw more strikes.” Said Myers. “I felt like a got into a groove and just ran with it.”
The Mountaineers will play game two at Monongalia County Ball Park with the first pitch at 4:00 pm est.