No. 24 West Virginia became the first team in the Big 12 Conference to win a weekend series on the road against another Big 12 foe Sunday. The Mountaineer lineup bested Kansas State at its own game, blasting three home runs to power WVU past the Wildcats 10-6 in the series finale.
West Virginia (21-7, 2-1 Big 12) struck first with three runs in the second inning. Kevin Dowdell got the Mountaineers on the board with a sacrifice fly. Five pitches later, Grant Hussey put a home run swing on a fastball thrown down the middle of the strike zone, sending a no-doubter over the fence in right. Hussey finished the game 3 for 4 with two runs scored, two runs batted in, and a pair of extra-base hits.
Kansas State (18-10, 5-4 Big 12) responded with four runs in the bottom of the inning. Roberto Pena homered for the second day in a row. This one was a three-run blast that gave the Wildcats a 4-3 lead.
The Mountaineers kept scoring, putting at least one run on the board in each of the next three innings.
Braden Barry hit a two-run homer to straight away centerfield in the third inning. JJ Wetherholt drove in a run in the fourth on a sacrifice fly. Then in the fifth, Caleb McNeely led off the frame with a round-tripper that put WVU out in front by a score of 7-4.
West Virginia and Kansas State hitters combined for 15 home runs in this series. The two teams hit five on Friday, five more Saturday, and a quintuple of dingers in the series finale Sunday.
Barry drove in his third run of the day in the ninth inning, dropping down a bunt on a squeeze play. Landon Wallace added two more runs later in the inning with two outs to give the Mountaineers a six-run advantage. Barry was one of five WVU hitters to have a multi-hit game, while Wallace was one of three Mountaineers to have a multi-RBI day.
Neither team’s starting pitcher made it through three innings. KSU starter Collin Rothermel recorded just seven outs, while WVU’s Grant Siegel lasted just 2 2/3 innings before being lifted from the game. Siegel was charged with four earned runs on three hits and two walks, and struck out just one.
West Virginia’s bullpen pitched well in relief, overall. Four Mountaineer relievers pitched the remaining 6 1/3 innings, allowing two on four hits, with both runs coming in the ninth inning. Robby Porco was credited with the win on the mound.
Randy Mazey’s group not only becomes the first Big 12 team to win a road conference series this year, but has increased its road win total to 12 — by far the most in the conference.
WVU will be away from home once again on Wednesday, when the Mountaineers take on Marshall inside GoMart Ballpark in Charleston. WVU will then be back home to face conference foe Kansas in a three-game weekend series beginning on Friday.