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WVU Baseball Falls 5-3 to Kansas in Big 12 Home Opener



WVU baseball first baseman Grant Hussey stretches for the putout.

WVU Baseball opened their first home Big 12 series of the season with a 5-3 loss to Kansas.

The Jayhawks chased the Mountaineers’ starter Ben Hampton from the game after 3.2 innings. West Virginia’s offense clawed their way back in the game after trailing 4-0, but couldn’t plate the tying run: 15 strikeouts didn’t help.

Kansas catcher Jake English hit a home run on the first pitch of the second inning. Shortstop Jackson Cobb followed that up with a single, and left fielder Chase Jans slugged a payoff pitch over the wall with two outs to go up 3-0.

Mountaineer first baseman Grant Hussey singled and third baseman Ellis Garcia walked to open the home half of the inning. Kansas starter Collin Baumgartner struck out the side to strand them.

The Jayhawks designated hitter Janson Reeder led off the third with a double. Second baseman Kodey Sojinaga singled to put runners at the corners, and Reeder scored on a wild pitch.

West Virginia chipped away at the lead in the bottom of the third. Catcher Dayne Leonard, right fielder Caleb McNeely and Hussey hit consecutive doubles to close the gap to 4-2.

The Jayhawks put a pair on with no outs in the fourth. McNeely made a magnificent diving catch to save a run, plucking up a fly ball less than an inch from the turf. He then recovered in time to throw to first base, doubling a runner off on the tag attempt. 

Left fielder Landon Wallace hit a home run to left in the sixth, narrowing the deficit to 4-3. The Mountaineers put a runner on third in the seventh and eighth innings, but couldn’t scrape the tying run across.

Kansas first baseman Cole Elvis led off the ninth with a home run that made it 5-3.

The Mountaineers sent the tying run to the plate with two outs in the ninth, but Kansas closer Stone Hewlett held on for the save, punching out Hussey looking on a payoff pitch.

WVU baseball moves to 22-7 on the season (2-1 Big 12). The Mountaineers look to even the series at 4pm Saturday, with Blaine Traxel (5-2, 2.57 ERA) slated to pitch.

Postgame Reaction

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