MORGANTOWN, W. Va. — The Kansas State baseball team allowed three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and West Virginia defeated the Wildcats 6-5 on Saturday to clinch the series at Hawley Field.
A two-run home run by Blair DeBord gave K-State (23-21, 4-10 Big 12) a 5-2 lead in the third, but neither team scored a run after the third inning until the three-run ninth by the Mountaineers (23-16, 6-7).
Jake Matthys issued a leadoff walk, followed by a double in the ninth before he threw a wild pitch to that allowed the first West Virginia run to score. The right-hander went on to walk Michael Constantini to put runners at first and third, and he threw a first-pitch ball to Taylor Munden before he was spelled by Ethan Landon.
Landon walked Munden to load the bases and then induced a sacrifice fly that not only allowed West Virginia to tie the game 5-5, but it also moved pinch-runner Justin Fox from second to third.
With runners on the corners, Billy Fleming hit a grounder to K-State first baseman Shane Conlon, who tried to turn a 3-6-1 double play, but was only able to get the one out at second on the fielder’s choice.
Fox crossed home to score the game-winning run after Austin Fisher’s throw from second to first was too late.
K-State outhit West Virginia, 12-7, but the Wildcats had three hits and stranded four runners after the third inning. K-State left eight base runners on in the entire game, while West Virginia left seven.
“That is the hard about today,” K-State head coach Brad Hill said. “We didn’t do the little things to win games. We could have knocked down a couple two-out RBIs to put the thing out of reach, and walking the leadoff batter in the ninth set ourselves up for disaster.”
K-State reliever Jake Fromson was called upon in the first inning after starting pitcher Jordan Floyd walked three of the four batters he faced. Fromson allowed one run in a career-high 5 1/3 innings. The right-hander retired 10 batters in a row at one point.
Senior Jared Moore added two innings of relief, holding WVU to one hit and no runs. Moore entered the game in the sixth with a runner on second, but the left-hander struck out pinch-hitter Jackson Cramer to leave the inning unscathed.
“Competitiveness today was so much better — I couldn’t talk after the game yesterday because there was a lack of competitiveness,” Hill said. “It hurts worse today (compared to Friday), but that is because we competed hard.”
The Wildcats scored the game’s first run in the first when Ross Kivett led off with a single and stole second before RJ Santigate’s single moved Kivett to third. Fisher followed up with the Wildcats’ third straight hit to drive in Kivett and make it 1-0 K-State.
WVU answered quickly in the bottom of the first with two runs on a Brad Johnson single, but the Wildcats jumped back ahead in the second when Carter Yagi’s RBI double and Kivett’s RBI single gave K-State a 3-2 lead.
DeBord added to the lead in the third with his first home run of the season that also scored Conlon. It was the senior’s first homer since 2012 at Texas Tech.
West Virginia cut it to 5-3 with a sac fly by Jacob Rice in the third.
West Virginia starter John Means allowed five runs —- all in the first three frames — before he finished the day throwing 6 2/3 innings. The left-hander surrendered 12 hits, but just three after DeBord’s home run in the third.
Ryan Tezak earned the win after holding K-State to no hits or runs in his 2 1/3 innings of relief.
Matthys took the loss after he was responsible for three runs in 1/3 of an inning. It was the right-hander’s third blown save this season.
K-State will look to salvage a win in the series in today’s finale at 11 am. Right-hander Nate Griep will start for the Wildcats and face left-hander Ross Vance.