West Virginia baseball fell victim to a perfect cocktail of power and wind as Kansas State’s bats took down the Mountaineers in the series finale, 9-4.
The Wildcats used their hot bats to take advantage of a strong left field wind to knock four home runs in the contest, all while reliever Kasey Ford came out of the bullpen and held the Mountaineers to just one run in the last 6.1 innings of the contest.
Despite Kansas State’s strong finish, West Virginia was the first team to snatch momentum after both squads scored a run in the first inning. WVU took the lead in the third behind RBIs from Vince Ippoliti and Kevin Brophy, prompting KSU coach Pete Hughes to make the switch from starter Carson Seymour to Ford.
Kansas State’s Kamron Willman answered in the fourth with his team’s second homer of the game, bringing Caleb Littlejim home along with him to tie it up.
West Virginia got another score in the fifth when Hudson Byorick crossed the plate on a wild pitch, but that capped off the Mountaineers’ scoring output for the weekend.
The Wildcats started taking advantage of the oncoming Mountaineer drought in the sixth inning with a pair of RBI singles. The first came from Willman for his third RBI of the afternoon, followed by Dylan Caplinger, whose poke put the Wildcats in front.
Kansas State finished the contest off with pair of two-run homers in the seventh and eighth innings from Dylan Phillips and Caplinger.
Nick Goodwin was the offensive motor for Kansas State, finishing 3-for-5 with a double and the Wildcats’ first homer of the game in the first inning. He added a second run for his team in the seventh, when he was sent home by Phillips’s home run. Willman and Caplinger were strong as well, adding three RBIs each.
Matt McCormick was the only Mountaineer with multiple hits, batting 2-for-4 with a double an RBI double in the first inning. Ippoliti and Brophy added RBIs as well, while budding freshman star Mikey Kluska struck out in all four of his plate appearances.
Ben Hampton got the start for West Virginia and allowed four earned runs on seven hits in five innings, while striking out six. Carlson Reed, who came in to the contest in the sixth inning, was handed the loss, finishing the game with three earned runs on four hits in an inning of work.
Ford (3-0) earned the victory, allowing just three hits and an unearned run in his lengthy relief job. Seymour tossed 2.2 innings in his start, allowing three earned runs on four hits.
West Virginia falls to 15-18 for the season, with a 6-9 mark in the Big 12. Kansas State evens itself with WVU in the conference at 6-9 after the victory, while improving to 23-16 overall.
WVU’s next contest is back home at Monongalia County Ballpark on Friday when the Mountaineers host TCU at 6:30 p.m. That contest will be shown on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.