No. 21 Mountaineers Four-run Eighth Inning Buries Wildcats
Manhattan, KS – The West Virginia Mountaineers (31-18, 13-11) closed out their Big 12 conference schedule with a 7-4 victory over the Kansas State Wildcats (25-28, 8-13) Sunday afternoon to take the series 2-1 inside Tointon Family Stadium.
For the third time in the series, the Mountaineers homered in the top of the first inning. Lead-off hitter Tyler Doanes started the previous two games with a solo homerun, but in game three, Marcus Inman delivered a two-run bomb, following Darius Hill getting jammed up inside and rolling one just past the mound for a base it.
After going 3-3 with two homeruns and four RBI’s in game two, K-State’s Terrence Spurlin continued his offensive prowess in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single to right field after Thomas Hughes advance to second on an errant throw from shortstop Tevin Tucker to get into scoring position.
TJ Lake began the fifth inning singling to left field, then with one out, Tyler Doanes doubled off the right field wall to put two runners in scoring position. Brandon White brought in Lake on a deep sacrifice fly ball to centerfield, giving the Mountaineers a 3-1 lead.
Kansas State got within a run when West Virginia starting pitcher Kade Strowd gave up his first walk of the game to Hughes and moved to third on another single to right field from Spurlin. Then, Chris Ceballos hit a sacrifice fly to rightfield to score Hughes.
The Wildcats kept the bats going in the seventh, after Strowd walked Rainer Ausmus and a sacrifice bunt put him at second. Cameron Thompson hit a hard groundball back up the middle, scoring Ausmus to tie the game.
West Virginia skipper Randy Mazey elected to intentionally walk Will Brennan and go to his bullpen for Zach Ottinger.
Thomas Hughes reached out on a 2-1 pitch and singled to right-centerfield to bring in Thompson to give the Wildcats a 4-3 lead.
That brought Spurlin up to the plate, who was 3-3 on the day, and with two on and two out, looked to have a base hit up the middle, but Tevin Tucker was cheating towards second, snagged the ball and made the throw over to first.
There’s been timely hitting from the Mountaineers for most of the season and their offense again came alive in the eighth.
Marques Inman started the inning poking a base hit into right field, the speedster Austin Davis came in to pinch run for Inman. Paul McIntosh followed it up with a walk, then Ivan Gonzalez squared up to bunt early but pulled back and slapped an RBI single to centerfield, scoring Davis to tie the game.
Kansas State head coach Pete Hughes brought in Will Brennan from centerfield. He walked Brophy to load the bases and TJ Lake hit a sac fly to center and Paul McIntosh slid headfirst into home as home plate umpire Greg Harmon ruled him safe due to obstruction by catcher Chris Ceballos.
The umpires reviewed the call as Hughes protested that Ceballos had to move up the line to make a play on the ball, but the ruling on the field would stand and the Mountaineers retook the lead 5-4.
Tyler Doanes added another run on a sacrifice fly to right field and Brandon White gave West Virginia a three-run cushion on a single into right field. However, the inning ended on the throw from right fielder Jeffrey Boggess to third, gunning down Phillip Dull.
Mountaineer closer Sam Kessler took the mound in the eighth and finished the game out only giving up a double as the Mountaineers finished the season winning six of the eight conference series.
West Virginia will finish off the final week of the regular season with Pitt on Tuesday night inside PNC Park and a home finale against George Washington.
|Team Batting Totals||36||7||15||7||1||0||1||3||7||0||0||3||7||0||0||27||7||2||—|