MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - A walk-off fielders choice from junior second basemen Billy Fleming capped a three-run ninth inning to give West Virginia a 6-5 victory over Kansas State on Saturday at Hawley Field.
The win gives West Virginia (23-16, 6-7 Big 12) the series win after a 10-1 victory on Friday evening. Despite the win, the Mountaineers only recorded seven hits, snapping a four-game streak of double-digit hits.
With runners on the corners and one out, Fleming hit a grounder to the Wildcats second basemen Carter Yagi who threw the ball off line to shortstop Austin Fisher, who made the force at second, but could not turn the double play. This allowed junior pinch runner Justin Fox
to score the game-winning run from third base.
The rally began with a walk drawn by freshman designated hitter Jackson Cramer
, followed by a double off the center field wall by junior catcher Cam O’Brien, advancing Cramer to third. A passed ball allowed Cramer to score and O’Brien to advance to third, cutting the deficit to 5-4. Back-to-back walks to senior third baseman Michael Constantini
and junior shortstop Taylor Munden
loaded the bases. Junior center fielder Bobby Boyd
hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring O’Brien for the tying run and advancing Fox, who pinch ran for Constantini, to third base. Fleming would then hit into a game winning fielders choice for the victory.
Senior right-hander Ryan Tezak
(3-0) got the win in relief, going 2.1 no-hit shutout innings, striking out one and walking one. Tezak entered for junior left-hander John Means
in the seventh inning with runners on the corners and Tezak got the third out to strand the runners.
Means struggled early, but settled down, allowing five runs on 12 hits in 6.2 innings with three strikeouts and one walk.
Kansas State scored its five runs in each of the first three innings with one in the first, two in the second and two in the third.
The Wildcats first three hitters reached in the first inning, highlighted by an Austin Fisher RBI single to left center field to take a 1-0 lead.
West Virginia answered immediately as walks to Munden, Boyd and senior first basemen Ryan McBroom
loaded the bases with two outs in the first. Junior right fielder Brad Johnson
hit a two-run single to center field, giving WVU the 2-1 advantage.
Johnson now has 10 RBIs in his last seven games, and he led all Mountaineers at the plate with two hits and two RBIs.
The Wildcats added to their lead in the third inning with a two-run home run from Blair DeBord, creating a three-run deficit for the Mountaineers. WVU cut the K-State lead to 5-3 in the bottom half of the frame when a double from Fleming and an infield single by McBroom put runners on the corners with one out. Fleming was plated with a sacrifice fly from senior left fielder Jacob Rice
The loss would go to Kansas State closer Jake Matthys (2-3) who went 0.1 innings, allowing three runs on one hit with one strikeout and two walks. Left-hander Jordan Floyd started the game but was only able to get one out, giving up two runs with three walks.
West Virginia will go for the sweep tomorrow at noon. A link to the video stream and live stats will be available on WVUsports.com. The radio broadcast will be on select affiliates of the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG College.