Baseball, WVU Sports

Kanas State ends WVU’s home winning streak with a 4-3 victory

GRANVILLE — West Virginia is human after all within its home stadium.

The Mountaineers learned that in the absolute wrong way Friday night, as Kansas State used a barrage of timely hitting and surprising pitching to pull out a 4-3 victory.

It was WVU’s first loss inside Kendrick Family Ballpark since March 30, a span of nine games.


It was that dominant play at home that had kept the Mountaineers (29-19, 15-10 Big 12) in contention for a second consecutive Big 12 title throughout the month of April.

The month of May started out with a different tune.

Much of that credit goes to Kansas State starter Owen Boerema, who picked up his fifth win of the season. He went seven innings, allowed five hits, three runs and struck out eight.

That likely went against the analytics coming in, with Kansas State (29-19, 13-12) ranked 10th in the Big 12 in pitching.

“It was a product of the kid on the mound,” WVU head coach Randy Mazey said. “He’s a really good pitcher. We were out of rhythm, because he made us get out of rhythm.”

That rhythm was a sweet instrumental just two days earlier, when the Mountaineers’ offense cranked out 18 hits, 18 runs and six home runs against Penn State.

“If that kid tonight would have pitched against us on Wednesday, the same thing probably would have happened,” Mazey said. “He’s just a good pitcher.”

Against the Wildcats, WVU’s offense was limited to just six scattered hits. WVU never had two guys reach base in consecutive at-bats and, at one point, struck out five consecutive times.

Meanwhile, Kansas State’s offensive philosophy was simple: Get a guy on, move him over and hit an RBI single.

All four of the Wildcats’ hits with runners in scoring position were RBI singles.

“I don’t know that they bunted at all,” Mazey said. “They did what they normally do. They steal a lot of bases, and we couldn’t stop them.”

It all added up to a night of pain for the Mountaineers in the Big 12 standings.
Instead of keeping an eye on Oklahoma in a race for first, WVU must now worry about Kansas State, Cincinnati and Kansas passing it from behind for fourth place in the conference standings.

Not that WVU didn’t have opportunities. Grant Hussey’s fly ball in the eighth inning went all the way to the fence, but K-State left fielder was able to reach up and make the grab with absolutely no room to spare.

A home run there would have given WVU a 5-4 lead.

“I thought it had a chance,” Mazey said. “There was no wind and there was dead air. The ball wasn’t carrying great tonight. That would have been a big hit.”

Reed Chumley hit his team-leading 14th home run in the sixth inning, a shot that got WVU to within 3-2, but K-State scored again in the seventh on Brady Day’s RBI single that scored Brendan Jones, who had walked, stole second and took third on a passed ball.

Hayden Cooper took the loss for WVU, but had his best outing of the season. He went six innings, gave up six hits, three runs and struck out six.

“He was throwing more strikes than he normally does with a couple of different pitches,” Mazey said. “He did fine.”

J.J. Wetherholt had two base hits to raise his batting average up to .375, but WVU went down in order in the ninth, leaving Wetherholt on the on-deck circle at the end of the game.

Game 2 of the series is scheduled for 3 p.m. today, with WVU going with pitcher Derek Clark on the mound.