No. 20 Mountaineers Take Sunday’s Rubber Game

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From K-State Athletics

The 20th-ranked West Virginia Mountaineers used a four-run eighth inning in a 7-4 comeback victory over K-State in the series’ rubber game Sunday at Tointon Family Stadium.

K-State (25-28, 8-13 Big 12) scored three unanswered runs, capped by two in the seventh, to take a 4-3 lead through seven innings. WVU’s (31-18, 13-11 Big 12) four-run eighth included RBI singles from Ivan Gonzalez and Brandon White sandwiched around two sacrifice flies.

Cameron Thompson and Thomas Hughes each delivered two-out RBI singles in the seventh to hand the Cats their first lead of the game. K-State made it a one-run game via a sacrifice fly off the bat of Chris Ceballos in the sixth.

The first four Mountaineers reached base in the eighth, three of which were the responsibility of Wildcat reliever Mitch Zubradt, who failed to record an out in the loss. All three came around to score as West Virginia ended with four runs on four hits with eight WVU hitters coming to the plate.

Junior Will Brennan, who earned his third save of the year Saturday, lifted Zubradt and allowed one earned run on two hits and a walk over an inning of work.

The Wildcats faced an early two-run deficit after Marques Inman lifted a two-run home run with two gone in the top of the first. Inman’s homer marked the third straight game WVU hit a home run in the first inning.

K-State cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the first after a two-out single from Terrence Spurlin. Spurlin’s single scored Hughes, who earlier reached on an error.

Following Spurlin’s single, WVU starter Kade Strowd retired the next eight Wildcats he saw and did not surrender a run until Ceballos’ sacrifice fly in the sixth. Strowd struck out five and walked three in 6 2/3 innings with four runs (three earned) allowed on five hits.

White made it a 3-1 game with a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning off K-State starter Jordan Wicks.

Wicks turned in seven innings of work, striking out seven with three earned runs given up on 10 hits. Wicks broke K-State’s single-season freshman record for innings pitched and strikeouts in the game.

Spurlin led the Cats with his 3-for-4 afternoon as he recorded three of the team’s first four base hits.

Tyler Doanes and White each went 3-for-4 to pace the Mountaineers. Gonzalez and Inman both tallied two base hits in the game.

Sam Kessler recorded a six-out save for WVU, his team-high eighth of the year. Kessler yielded one hit in two scoreless innings with a strikeout.

Each team registered three two-out RBI while WVU went 7-for-13 (.538) with two gone.

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Mitch Fortner

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