MANHATTAN, Kan.–The West Virginia University baseball team fell at Kansas State, 5-2, on Saturday evening in Manhattan, Kansas.
In the middle game of the three-game set at KSU’s Tointon Family Stadium, the Wildcats used a four-run fourth inning to help them level the series at a game apiece. WVU (15-17, 6-8 Big 12) finished with two runs on four hits with four errors, while K-State (22-16, 5-9 Big 12) tallied five runs on seven hits with two errors.
K-State’s Connor McCullough grabbed the win, while sophomore left-handed pitcher Jake Carr took the loss for the Mountaineers.
“When you get into this part of the season, your best players have to play well,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “We just need the older, veteran guys on this team to be really good players. That’s what we’re not getting right now. If your best players aren’t playing well, then you aren’t going to win games.”
After a quick first inning, the Wildcats opened the scoring with help from a pair of two-out, WVU throwing errors in the bottom of the second to make it 1-0. From there, the Mountaineers stranded a runner at third in the top of the third.
After Carr registered a 1-2-3 bottom of the third, K-State struck for four runs in the fourth, which included a three-run homer to right. Carr lasted 3.1 innings and allowed five runs (three earned) on four hits with three strikeouts. He fell to 1-3 on the campaign.
WVU tallied its first hit and run in the top of the sixth, cutting the deficit to four. After freshman outfielder Braden Barry was hit by a pitch, senior infielder Tyler Doanes singled and freshman infielder Mikey Kluska registered a sacrifice fly to center to make it 5-1.
On the mound, junior right-hander Zach Ottinger was effective in relief of Carr, allowing no runs on three hits with four strikeouts in 3.1 innings of action. Junior left-hander Adam Tulloch also helped the cause, striking out four of the five batters he faced in the eighth and ninth innings.
“Those were some bright spots for us,” Mazey said of the Mountaineer bullpen. “We need those guys to be good, and they were good today.”
In the ninth, the Mountaineers were able to scratch a run across when fifth-year senior first baseman/outfielder Hudson Byorick scored on a wild pitch. However, West Virginia, which began the frame with back-to-back hits, couldn’t muster any additional scoring.
With the loss, WVU fell to 13-10 all-time against Kansas State, including 7-7 in Manhattan. Of note, Saturday’s game marked the 800th of Mazey’s head coaching career, as well as fifth-year senior infielder Kevin Brophy’s 100th career start at WVU.
Press Release Credit: WVU Athletics Communications
Photo Credit: Shanna Rose