GRANVILLE, W.Va– Senior Taylor Munden blasted a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to power the West Virginia Mountaineers past the Kansas Jayhawks 5-4 on Sunday in front of 1,503 fans at Monongalia County Ballpark.
The Mountaineers were down 4-3 heading into the seventh inning. Center Fielder KC Huth singled to center field with one out. After being sacrificed to second, Munden hit his Big 12 and team-leading 10th home run of the season over the left field wall to put West Virginia ahead 5-4.
Munden and Huth had two hits apiece for the Mountaineers, and Munden drove in three RBIs.
West Virginia (24-17, 6-9) avoided being swept by the Jayhawks (19-25, 6-9).
“We lost the first two games of the series and they throw a four spot up in the second and you’re thinking come on Mountaineers, don’t give up,” coach Randy Mazey said. “We talked about it after yesterday’s game and before today’s game that sometimes in baseball things don’t go your way and you get tested. It happens in life too, so now is a great time to practice how to respond to adversity.”
Right-hander Chad Donato (6-4) got off to a shaky start, but settled down to toss 7.2 innings, allowing four runs on eight hits. He struck out five and walked two.
Right-hander Blake Smith picked up his sixth save of the season. The junior stranded two runners in the ninth.
Kansas second baseman Justin Protacio tied a season-high three hits. Sophomore right-hander Sean Rackoski fanned a career-high seven batters in his first-career Big 12 start for the Jayhawks. Rackoski left the game with the lead, but reliever Blake Weiman (1-7) was unable to hang on to the lead.
Kansas catcher Michael Tinsley started the second inning with a single, which led to the next 6-of-7 batters reaching and scoring four runs on five hits.
Ryan Pidhaichuk and Tommy Mirabelli both walked and scored the first two runs. Justin Protacio extended his hitting streak to eight games with an RBI single to center field and Connor McKay followed with an RBI single to center. McKay has now reached base safely in 31-straight games.
Shaun Wood hit a two-run bomb to right center in the bottom half of the second. It was his seventh of the season and third in as many at bats. Munden then cut the deficit to 4-3 when he singled up the middle to score designated hitter Caleb Potter.
The Mountaineers will travel to Appalachian Power Park to take on Marshall on Tuesday at 6 p.m.