The WVU baseball team completed a Big 12 series sweep of Kansas State with a 6-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at Hawley Field.It marks the second sweep since joining the conference, as the Mountaineers swept Kansas last season in Beckley. West Virginia advanced to 24-16 overall and 7-7 in the Big 12, while Kansas State fell to 23-22 and 4-11 in the conference.
“I told them before the game that opportunities come by in life not that often, as they don’t in college baseball all that often, to have a chance to sweep a team,” coach Randy Mazey says. “That’s only the second time we’ve been in this position where we won the first two games of a weekend. This was a huge game just to prove that if we’re in this situation again we’re starting to get confidence in the third game of a series.”
Sophomore left-hander Ross Vance (3-0) was again impressive as he picked up his third-straight win in his third-straight start. Ross was efficient, throwing just 90 pitches in 7.0 innings, allowing one run off of five hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.
“He’s that guy that on the scouting report it says he really doesn’t have anything to get you out, but he keeps getting you out,” Mazey says. “Hitters walk back to the dugout and they’re talking to each other and they’re frustrated.”
Equally impressive was junior right-hander Sean Carley, who pitched the eighth and ninth innings, striking out four of the seven batters he faced.
Junior right fielder Brad Johnson led all Mountaineer batters by knocking in three of West Virginia's runs. Johnson added two hits on Sunday and is now 13-for-25(.520) with two doubles, one triple, 13 RBIs and two stolen bases in his last seven games.
Senior left fielder Jacob Rice led all players with three hits and two runs, and junior second baseman Billy Fleming batted 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Junior center fielder Bobby Boyd and senior first baseman Ryan McBroom each had two hits.
It took until the fourth inning for the Mountaineers to score the game's first run. Rice started of the frame with a bunt single back to the pitcher who committed athrowing error and allowed Rice to advance to third base. Johnson then hit a single down the left field line to score Rice, making the score 1-0.
West Virginia batted around the order in the sixth inning, increasing its lead to 5-0. McBroom and Rice led off with back-to-back singles to left field. Johnson then cleared the bases with his first career triple down the right field line and scored when junior catcher Cam O'Brien doubled off the right center field wall. Walks were issued to freshman designated hitter Jackson Cramer and Boyd to load the bases with two outs for Fleming who hit an infield single to short, scoring O'Brien.
The Wildcats got their only run of the contest in the top of the seventh with asolo home run off the left field foul pole by Tanner DeVinny.
The Mountaineers picked up an insurance run in the bottom of the eight when Fleming hit single to left center scoring Boyd from second. Boyd had previously reached with a two-out double.
Right-hander Nate Griep (3-4) got the loss in his eighth start of the season for Kansas State, going 5.0 innings and allowing five runs, four earned, off of eight hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
The Mountaineers will travel to Appalachian Power Park on Wednesday, April 30, for a game against Marshall. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. A link to the live stats will be available on WVUsports.com. The radio broadcast will be on select affiliates of the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG College.