(*Courtesy of K-State sports information*)
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – K-State surrendered four runs in the eighth to cap a West Virginia four-run comeback as the Wildcats could not close out the sweep on Sunday at Monongalia County Ballpark and lost to the Mountaineers, 5-4.
Leading 4-0 entering the bottom of the sixth, K-State (16-20, 3-9 Big 12) yielded a run in the sixth before a four-spot in the eighth, off relievers Jordan Floyd and Lucas Benenati, allowed the Mountaineers (18-16, 5-6 Big 12) to stave off the Wildcats’ first sweep in a Big 12 series since 2013.
West Virginia had nine of its 11 hits in the game over the final 17 batters while K-State was held to just two hits over the final four innings. Mountaineer starting pitcher BJ Myers bounced back from allowing four runs in the third to turn in eight innings and earn his fourth win of the season.
K-State starting pitcher Corey Fischer was effective in his third Big 12 start of the year, surrendering one run on four hits and one walk over 5 2/3 innings. His last two hits surrendered produced the first West Virginia run in the sixth and made it 4-1 K-State.
After Brandon Erickson worked around back-to-back singles to open a scoreless seventh, K-State turned to Floyd to start the eighth. The left-hander gave up consecutive one-out singles before being lifted in favor of Benenati, who converted the save in the series opener on Friday. The senior managed to induce a first-pitch fly out to the first batter he faced, but the next four batters all reached base safely to erase the K-State advantage.
A two-out, bloop single by pinch hitter Braden Zarbnisky off Benenati tied the game at 4-4 before Darius Hill’s RBI infield single in the hole to shortstop Tyler Wolfe gave West Virginia its first and only lead of the weekend.
Josh Rolette hit a three-run home run in the third to give K-State the 4-0 lead. The homer, Rolette’s third of the season, followed up Jake Wodtke’s sacrifice fly that plated Brooks Zimmerman. The Wildcats had loaded the bases with no outs off Myers before delivering the four runs.
After the third inning, though, Myers only allowed one baserunner in each of the fourth through seventh inning. The Wildcats had a runner in scoring position in the fifth and seventh, but both were stranded as K-State left just three on base for the entire afternoon.
Zimmerman, who got the start for the first time in the series, tied Jake Scudder for team lead in hits with two. Scudder had a single in the third and a double in the sixth, but the junior was thrown out trying to stretch the double into a triple to open the inning.
Benenati was charged with his second loss of the season after being responsible for two runs on three hits and a walk in 2/3 of an inning.
Blake Smith recorded his fourth save of the season by striking out two in a 1-2-3 ninth.
K-State now returns home for a Tuesday matchup against Nebraska at Tointon Family Stadium. First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m.