K-State baseball squandered a chance to win their first Big 12 series since Easter weekend of 2014 on Saturday after a two-run RBI in the ninth inning gave West Virginia the 3-2 win and the series.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on senior outfielder Max Brown’s triple.
K-State was able to find similar offensive success in the second inning but to no avail, as K-State left two men stranded.
K-State only registered four hits against good Mountaineer pitching that began to find its groove starting in the third inning. Wildcat pitchers allowed 12 hits in the game, but kept West Virginia scoreless until the two-run RBI in the ninth.
“Our pitchers competed,” said K-State head coach Brad Hill to K-State Sports. “(West Virginia) is a team that thrives on the long ball. There were a lot of hits, but very few runs up there. They just gave us a chance to win.”
Sophomore starting pitcher Nate Griep gave up one run on a season-high eight hits. Greip pitched into the sixth inning before a lead-off Mountaineer triple led the Wildcat coaches to bullpen where four relievers saw action.
While K-State’s pitching ended up being the straw that broke the camel’s back, K-State hitters had a shot just the inning before at getting some insurance after a lead-off double and a passed ball found senior infielder Carter Yagi on third with no outs.
Unfortunately for K-State, a strike-out and two ground-outs left Yagi stranded.
“With the go-ahead run at third base, you’d sure like to get that runner across the plate,” Hill said. “We just didn’t get the swing on it to get it done.”
K-State hitters were casualties of a great pitching performance, as West Virginia junior hurler Ross Vance avoided the woes of six walks to allow just three hits in a complete game pitching performance and a Mountaineers’ 5-3 win.
West Virginia was able to jump on Wildcat starter junior Brandon Courville, notching two runs in the first inning and one more in the second inning to take an early 3-0 lead.
“Down three in the second inning, and we were acting like we were down 13,” Hill said. “We can’t do that. We have to fight back a little better offensively.”
K-State found a way to get on the board in the third inning after junior outfielder Clayton Dalrymple drove in sophomore infielder Jake Wodtke.
K-State scored their second run in the eighth inning after senior infielder Shane Conlon was driven in on a Max Brown double. Unfortunately for K-State, senior Brown tried to turn a stand-up double into a triple and was thrown out.
“I can’t fault (Brown),” Hill said. “That’s a guy we think triple when he hits into the gap. (West Virginia centerfielder KC Huth and shortstop Taylor Munden) made two great throws, including (Munden’s) strike to third base (on the relay). It was a great swing by Max. We just needed more swings like Max’s throughout the game.”
Click for a recap of the Thursday game.
K-State will welcome former Big 12 rival Nebraska Tuesday in the first of two midweek matchups. First pitch is at 6:30 p.m. at Tointon Family Stadium.