After a rough start to conference play for the Kansas State Wildcats Baseball team, the Bat Cats righted the ship and managed to scrape out two victories in less than 24 hours against new Big 12 member West Virginia.
Due to weather moving into the Manhattan area for St. Patrick’s Day, the series schedule was altered allowing the teams to play a Friday Doubleheader followed by a single game to close things out on Saturday afternoon. In Friday’s first game, the Mountaineers came out swinging, scoring the game’s first 13 runs before settling for a 13-2 run-rule-shortened game that ended after seven innings. K-State blew an early 5-0 lead in the nightcap but after West Virginia tied the game in the top of the seventh inning but Tanner Witt’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning allowed K-State to win 6-5 and gain a split.
After Friday’s 80-degree weather, a game time temperature of 39 degrees greeted the teams on Saturday for the rubber game of the series. The Mountaineers struck early again with three runs in the top of the first inning but that would be their offense for the day. RBI’s by Blair DeBord, Tanner Witt and Ross Kivett pulled the Bat Cats even in the bottom of the second. The eventual winning run scored in the bottom of the fifth when R.J. Santigate was hit in the back by a pitch with the bases loaded.
From there, K-State’s pitching took over. Matt Wivinis coming off a complete game last weekend against Cal-Poly settled down after his rough first frame to work seven innings allowing just seven hits with five strikeouts. Jake Matthys then struck out the side in the top of the eighth after allowing a leadoff triple and finished things off in the ninth to secure the 4-3 Wildcat victory.
Kansas State (12-7, 2-1) will next be in action on Tuesday night as their nearly month-long homestand continues with the opener of a two-game series against Minnesota. First pitch at Tointon Family Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m.
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