MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team’s six-game winning streak was snapped with a 7-2 loss to Kansas on Sunday afternoon at Monongalia County Ballpark.
The Mountaineers (19-11, 6-3 Big 12) were held to two runs on five hits, while the Jayhawks (14-17, 4-5 Big 12) improved to 3-0 on Sundays in Big 12 play, scoring seven runs on 15 hits.
Despite the loss, WVU has won four consecutive weekend series and its first three in Big 12 play. West Virginia has won 11 of its last 15 games and is 6-2 at home.
“We’re still young, we’ve been in this position (before),” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “This is the third time we’ve won the first two games on the weekend and haven’t been able to close it out, so we’ll learn how to do that as we go along. Hopefully, we’re in that position again, but don’t take anything away from the Jayhawks, that’s their third Sunday win in a row in the Big 12. When you do that, it’s not an accident, they threw three really good arms at us and that’s why they win games. They’ve got pitching depth and we’re trying to find ours. I feel really good about the week we had, we went 4-1 and we’re in good shape right now in the league. The season is more than half over, so if we can just continue to stay motivated and grind, we still feel really good where we’re at.”
WVU trailed 2-0 early before a two-run home run by sophomore right fielder Darius Hill tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth inning. However, KU regained the lead with two runs in the seventh and added three in the ninth to avoid the sweep.
Hill drove in both of WVU’s runs, while sophomore third baseman Cole Austin led the team with two hits and finished with a team-high-tying five hits in three games against Kansas.
On the mound, freshman Kade Strowd made his second career start and allowed two runs on five hits in 3.2 innings. He struck out four and did not walk a batter. Fellow freshman righty Sam Kessler followed with 2.1 innings, allowing one run on three hits. Kessler also struck out four with no walks, but suffered his first career loss.
Kansas scored one run on three singles in the second inning to take its first lead of the series, and added a run on an RBI groundout in the third to make it 2-0.
The Mountaineers tied it at 2-2 in the fourth, thanks to Hill’s home run. It was the sophomore’s second home run in as many days and third of the season.
A two-out walk and a single put two on in the bottom of the fifth, but a strikeout ended the inning before WVU could take a lead.
The Mountaineers again put a runner on in the sixth on Austin’s leadoff single, but he was stranded on third.
KU regained the lead at 4-2 in the seventh on a pair of runs on two hits. The inning began with a leadoff home run by Tanner Gragg and was followed by a two-out RBI single through the left side. Kansas added three runs on five hits in the top of the ninth inning. An RBI single, with a throwing error, brought in the final two runs of the game.
West Virginia was retired in order in the ninth as the Mountaineers attempted to rally.
West Virginia travels to Maryland on Tuesday, April 11. The midweek matchup is set to begin at 4 p.m. ET in College Park, Maryland.
NOTES: West Virginia falls to 19-11 on the season and 6-3 in the Big 12 … WVU has won 11 of its last 15 games and four consecutive weekend series … After the series win against Kansas, WVU is 9-7 all-time against Kansas and has won five of the last six games in the series … Darius Hill hit his fourth home run of the season, seventh of his career and second in as many games.
Single game tickets, flex plan tickets and mini packs for the 2017 WVU baseball season are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-WVU GAME, going to WVUGAME.com or visiting the Mountaineer Ticket Office in the WVU Coliseum. The 2017 schedule is available on WVUsports.com.