MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — The Kansas State baseball team allowed the first four West Virginia batters to score in the sixth inning, turning a close game into 6-1 loss to the Mountaineers on Sunday at Hawley Field.
K-State (23-22, 4-11 Big 12) trailed 1-0 entering the bottom of the sixth, but Wildcat starter Nate Griep, who allowed just two hits to his prior 16 batters faced, surrendered four straight hits to West Virginia (24-16, 7-7) to start the sixth.
The last of the two hits were for extra-bases and drove in three of the four runs.
“(Griep’s) pitches were elevated because he was trying to overthrow and hurry everything,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “That is the hard part for us — knowing how to slow the game down and get under control to execute pitches, execute a play, and execute an at-bat.
“Right now, we are just out of control, and that happens with the continuation of losing.”
The loss gave the Mountaineers the three-game sweep over the Wildcats, marking the second straight Big 12 road sweep for K-State — the first since 2004 — after losing three in a row at Texas Tech two weeks ago.
Ross Kivett and Max Brown each had two hits apiece, combining for four of the Wildcats’ five hits in the game.
Freshman Tanner DeVinny hit a solo home run to lead off the seventh to score the only K-State run.
WVVU starter Ross Vance stifled the Wildcat hitters, striking out seven and walking none in seven innings to earn his third win of the season.
Prior to DeVinny’s home run, Vance only allowed one K-State runner to reach second base, which was Kivett after he singled to start the game and stole his 19th base of the season.
West Virginia scored its first run in the fourth when Jacob Rice dropped down a bunt that was fielded by Griep, but the Wildcat pitcher made an errant throw to first that allowed Rice to reach third on the single and two-base error.
Brad Johnson took advantage of the error and followed with an RBI double down the left-field line to score Rice and make it 1-0 West Virginia.
The Mountaineers capped their scoring in the eighth inning on an RBI single by Billy Fleming off K-State reliever Jared Moore, who was pitching in back-to-back games. He surrendered the lone run in 1 2/3 innings.
West Virginia notched 12 hits, nine of which were singles. Five Mountaineers had multi-hit efforts, with Rice leading the way with a game-high three hits.
K-State right-hander Ethan Landon allowed an inherited runner to score in the sixth, but the freshman finished the day striking out one and scattering two hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Griep’s loss was his fourth straight defeat, dropping him to 3-4 on the year. The redshirt-freshman allowed eight hits and five runs — four earned — in the five-plus innings pitched.
K-State returns to action with a three-game set at TCU beginning on Friday at 6 p.m.