Baseball, Sports, WVU Sports

Alek Manoah regains dominance, blanks Kansas State

With an emphasis on arm angle, leg drive and pinpoint mechanics, Alek Manoah tries not to view pitching as a result-oriented proposition.

Still, when it all syncs up, the results are staggering.

Manoah struck out 13 batters and limited K-State to three singles over eight innings Friday night when No. 22 West Virginia coasted to a 6-0 win in Manhattan, Kan.

Tyler Doanes led off the game with a solo homer and Brandon White’s speed factored into two runs for the Mountaineers (30-17, 12-10), who remain in fourth place in the Big 12 standings.

Kansas State (24-27, 7-12) slipped to within 1 1/2 games of last-place Texas. That’s crucial considering only eight of the league’s nine teams will advance to the Big 12 tournament.

Manoah (7-3) vowed to rebound after last week’s 14-5 loss to TCU, a game in which the project first-rounder allowed a season-worst four earned runs. His pledge looked prophetic when he mowed through the Wildcats for his six double-digit strikeout game of the season.

The 6-foot-6 right-hander lowered his conference-best ERA to 1.89 and increased his season strikeout total to 121 — 21 more than the Big 12’s runner-up, Nick Lodolo.

Manoah walked one batter while throwing 73 of his 102 pitches for strikes and allowed only one runner to reach second base.

“Go out and dominate the game — low walks, low pitch-count and high strikeouts,” said Mountaineers coach Randy Mazey. “That’s what does. He has a lot of pride. He felt like he didn’t throw as well as he could last week against TCU and wanted to come back and redeem himself, and he sure did.”

After K-State threatened in the sixth on singles by Jaxon Passino and Will Brennan, Manoah fanned Thomas Hughes and Passino was thrown out trying to steal third for a double-play.

A second-inning single by Chris Ceballos was the only other hit by the Wildcats, who matched their season-low.

Dillion Meadows struck out two in a scoreless ninth for West Virginia, which earned its 15th road win this season, tied for fifth-most in the country.

Doanes hit his fourth homer on the fourth pitch of the game from Caleb Littlejim (5-3). Then White singled, stole second and eventually scored on a groundout by Marques Inman.

White added a two-out RBI double in the fourth.

Ivan Gonzalez led off the second inning with a double and scored on TJ Lake’s single.

Littlejim allowed six runs — four earned — on six hits over a career-long 6 2/3 innings. He fanned two and walked two.

The series continues Saturday with WVU left-hander Jackson Wolf (2-3, 4.07 ERA) facing Griffin Hassall (2-2, 3.12 ERA).