MANHATAN, Kan. – Kansas State senior Tanner Witt hit a two-out RBI single in the eighth inning of a 5-5 tie during the nightcap as the Wildcats bounced back from a 13-2 loss earlier in the day to pick up a 6-5 victory Friday at Tointon Family Stadium.
With the doubleheader split, the Wildcats moved to 11-7 on the year and are 1-1 to begin Big 12 play. The Mountaineers enter Saturday’s series finale with an 8-10 overall record and a 1-1 league mark.
K-State came back from the 11-run loss in game one with five runs over the first three innings of game two to take a 5-0 lead. However, West Virginia scored a single run in the sixth inning and put together a four-run seventh to tie the game at 5-5.
The K-State eighth inning began with an Austin Fisher single before Jon Davis was hit by a pitch against WVU reliever Jake Harlow (0-1). Following a sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk, newly-inserted pitcher Ryan Hostrander forced Ross Kivett to pop up in the infield for the second out.
Witt came to the plate and jumped ahead in the count 2-0. On the next pitch, the senior pulled a fastball through the left side of the infield to bring in the eventual game-winning run.
A product of Hawthorn Woods, Ill., Witt wasn’t finished with his heroics as he came in for his third save of the year, working around a pair of two-out hits in the ninth inning and carding a two strikeouts.
“In game two, we competed,” head coach Brad Hill said. “I feel like we are a little pressed. I don’t know why, but we are. We came out on a mission in the second game, but we just sat on it. You can’t do that. Our league is too good for that. Teams don’t quit; they keep fighting. They had more emotion than we did.
“We were fortunate to win,” Hill continued. “Tanner came up big with a two-out hit and then comes out and closes it out. The senior showed great composure for us.”
K-State freshman right-hander Jake Matthys (2-0) earned the win as he pitched a scoreless eighth inning. Although he struck out Ryan Tuntland, a wild pitch allowed the WVU third baseman to reach base, and he moved to third on another wild pitch and a fly out. With the go-ahead run only 90 feet away, Matthys struck out Alan Filauro to end the inning and give the Wildcats the momentum they needed heading into the bottom half.
Kivett led the Wildcats with four hits in the doubleheader, including a three-hit contest in the nightcap. Playing for the first time in a week, Jared King had three hits on Friday with two coming in K-State’s game-two victory.
The Wildcats recorded three doubles in the second inning to plate the first two runs of game two. The final two doubles from Blair DeBord and Kivett each drove in runs. K-State put three more on the board the next inning on singles by RJ Santigate and Davis, while another came with Mountaineer left fielder Jacob Rice dropped a fly ball.
The power that the Mountaineers showed in game one when they had five extra-base hits, including two home runs, reappeared in the sixth and seventh innings of game two as West Virginia tied the game. Back-to-back doubles by Matt Frazer and Tuntland plated a run in the seventh, while a solo homer by Ryan McBroom, a RBI single by Bobby Boyd and a two-run blast by Rice tied the game at 5-5.
In game one, West Virginia scored 11 runs over the middle innings of to break open a scoreless game en route to a 13-2 victory. Included in the Mountaineers two home runs was a two-out, three-run shot to deep center field by McBroom in the fourth inning.
WVU strung together three two-out RBI hits – singles by Billy Fleming and Filauro and a double by McBroom – in a five-run fifth inning, while a Frazer three-run shot in the sixth inning gave the Mountaineers an 11-0 lead.
K-State starter Nate Williams (2-3) suffered the loss in the first game, allowing five runs on six hits in 4.1 innings. Walks hurt the right-hander all day as he gave away four free passes, two of which scored in the fourth and fifth frames.
West Virginia’s Harrison Musgrave (2-1) earned the win in game one as he allowed two runs on two hits in 6.1 innings with three walks and six strikeouts. McBroom tallied three of his four hits and five of his six RBI Friday in game one.
Kansas State and West Virginia conclude their Big 12-opening series on Saturday with a 2 p.m., contest at Tointon Family Stadium. A pregame tailgate featuring multiple food and beverage items will begin at 1 p.m., on the southwest lawn of the stadium grounds, while Saturday is also Season Ticket Holder Appreciation Day. Tickets are available online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets or at the Tointon Family Stadium box office beginning at 1 p.m.