K-State ends losing streak in Big 12 play

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Will Brennan picked up the win on the mound to go with two hits, Jordan Maxson had a four-hit day and Hanz Harker drove in three runs to help K-State salvage the final game of the three-game series with West Virginia, 7-4, at Monongalia County Ballpark Sunday. That’s according to a release from K-State.

Brennan, who picked up his second victory of the week, threw a career-high five innings and allowed just one earned run. The sophomore scattered six hits and struck out a pair in his first career Big 12 start.

K-State (17-23, 3-12 Big 12) jumped out to a 7-1 lead through seven and a half innings on its way to claiming its first road conference win of the season. West Virginia (19-18, 4-8 Big 12) scored three in the eighth and ninth innings.

Maxson was 4-for-5 with a double and two runs scored. The four hits are a career high for the freshman.

Brennan and Harker registered back-to-back doubles in the seventh as the duo each had two-hit days. Harker’s three RBI were a team high.

Drew Mount was the fourth Wildcat with a multiple-hit performance, going 2-for-4 with his conference-leading fifth triple of the season.

K-State got two runs off WVU starting pitcher Braden Zarbnisky in his four innings of work. Zarbnisky, who also hit leadoff for the Mountaineers, took the loss. West Virginia used eight pitchers, as the Cats totaled 12 base hits in the game.

Mount’s triple led off the second inning, as Trent McMaster followed him with single up the middle. The run broke the scoreless tie and was the Wildcats’ first run in 12 innings.

West Virginia’s Marques Inman led off the home half of the inning with a triple of his own, but Brennan coaxed three straight outs to work out of the jam and maintain the Cats’ 1-0 lead.

Brennan navigated through the first three innings without allowing a run, limiting the Mountaineers’ offense to 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position in that span.

WVU tied the game in the fourth inning on Andrew Zitel’s two-out single. Second baseman Kyle Gray doubled earlier in inning and advanced to third on a groundout by Ivan Gonzalez.

Three WVU pitchers combined to walk four batters in the K-State fifth inning, including consecutive walks to Harker and Cameron Thompson with the bases loaded. The two RBI walks put the Cats in front, 3-1. The inning ended with Brennan being thrown out at home trying to tag up on a Mount fly ball.

Back-to-back doubles by Brennan and Harker added another run for the Cats in the seventh. Harker, who was the first batter reliever Sam Kessler saw, roped an RBI double to the gap in right center field for a 4-1 lead.

Nine Wildcats came to the plate as part of a three-run eighth inning. Brennan delivered an RBI single with the bases loaded and Harker followed with a sacrifice fly that brought home Maxson. It was Harker’s third run driven in on the day.

WVU got two of those runs back in the bottom half of the inning off Jaxon Passino. Darius Hill laced an RBI double down the right field line and Kyle Gray brought him in with a sacrifice fly. Brogan Heinen entered the game for Passino and stranded two Mountaineers to end the threat with lead trimmed to 7-3.

Passino tossed 2 2/3 innings in relief of Brennan, surrendering three hits and two earned.

Three Mountaineers had multi-hit games, as Inman, Isaiah Kearns and Jimmy Galusky each had two hits.

WVU reliever Alek Manoah gave up a game-high three earned runs in one inning of relief, yielding three hits.

Sophomore Tyler Eckberg finished the game for the Cats, allowing an earned run on one hit and two walks in the ninth.

K-State completes its eight-game road swing with a midweek game at Omaha Wednesday night. The matchup with the Mavericks is set for 6:30 p.m. at Werner Park

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Mitch Fortner

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