The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

May 12, 2014

Mountaineers suffer series sweep with 9-8 loss at Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Despite registering 18 hits, the WVU baseball team left 14 men on base, falling 9-8 to Kansas on Sunday afternoon at Hoglund Ballpark.

The win for Kansas (33-21, 15-9 Big 12) completes the sweep, its third straight in the Big 12. West Virginia fell  to 27-20 overall and 9-11 in Big 12 action.

Junior second baseman Billy Fleming hit for the cycle, becoming only the second Mountaineer to ever do so. Bob Spangler  hit for the cycle during the 1998 season. Fleming finished 4-for-6 with three runs and two RBIs.

Senior left fielder Jacob Rice had three hits, while junior shortstop Taylor Munden, junior center fielder Bobby  Boyd, junior right fielder Brad Johnson and senior third baseman Michael Constantini had two hits apiece. Munden and Rice each drove in two runs.

West Virginia spoiled an opportunity in the first inning as three straight singles loaded the bases with no outs.  Senior first baseman Ryan McBroom struck out for the first out, and Rice grounded into an inning-ending double play.

Kansas made WVU pay in the bottom of the first when Justin Protacio scored to take a 1-0 lead on an RBI ground ball  to shortstop.

Following a triple to right field by Fleming in the top of the third inning, Rice redeemed himself with a two-out  single up the middle to tie the score at 1-1.

Kansas came through with another clutch hit to take a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the third when Tucker Tharp doubled  to left field, scoring Colby Wright from second base.

West Virginia tied the game at 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning as Fleming hit his first career home run over the left field fence. The Mountaineers loaded the bases with two outs, but a running catch in left field by Kansas’ Michael Suiter off the bat of freshman designated hitter Jackson Cramer ended the threat.

Ka’iana Eldredge broke the tie at 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth with a two out, two-run single to center field.

The back-and-forth game continued with the Mountaineers taking a 5-4 lead with three runs in the top of the sixth.  Munden doubled down left field line to score Constantini from third base. Munden then tied the game as Fleming doubled to left center field, completing the cycle. Fleming gave WVU a 5-4 edge, scoring from third base on an infield single to shortstop by Rice.

Not to be outdone, Kansas came back and scored five runs on four hits to take a 9-5 lead in the bottom of the sixth.  Back-to-back two-out singles by Tharp and Eldredge drove in two runs and one run, respectively.

WVU came back to load the bases with no outs in the top of the seventh, but mustered just one run on a Munden sacrifice  fly to left field, plating junior catcher Cam O’Brien to bring the Kansas lead to 9-6.

The Mountaineers notched two more runs, bringing the score to 9-8, in the top of the eighth. Johnson singled up  the middle on a hit-and-run to score McBroom from second base. Rice scored to bring it within one run on an O’Brien sacrifice fly to center field.

Junior left-hander John Means (6-1) took a no-decision, allowing five runs on six hits in five innings with six strikeouts  and three walks. The loss went to junior right-hander Ryan Tezak (4-1), who gave up four runs on four hits with one walk in 2-3 inning.

Kansas’ Frank Duncan (6-2) also took a no-decision, giving up five runs on 13 hits. Duncan struck out three and walked  one. Drew Morovick picked up the win, allowing one run on three hits with one strikeout in 2-3 inning.

West Virginia returns to action at Maryland on Tuesday for the final nonconference game of the season. First pitch  is set for 2 p.m.

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