From staff and wire reports
Ross Vance won his third straight start, Brad Johnson drove in three runs and West Virginia completed a three-game sweep with a 6-1 victory Sunday at Hawley Field.
It marks the second series sweep for the Mountaineers since joining the Big 12. They also took three games from Kansas last season at Linda K. Epling Stadium in Beckley. WVU improved to 24-16 overall and 7-7 in the Big 12, while Kansas State fell to 23-22 and 4-11 in the conference.
“I told them before the game that opportunities come by in life not that often, as they don’t in college baseball all that often, to have a chance to sweep a team,” coach Randy Mazey says. “That’s only the second time we’ve been in this position where we won the first two games of a weekend. This was a huge game just to prove that if we’re in this situation again we’re starting to get confidence in the third game of a series.”
Vance (3-0), a sophomore left-hander, was again impressive in his third start since joining the rotation. Ross was efficient, throwing just 90 pitches in seven innings. He allowed one run off five hits with seven strikeouts and no walks.
“He’s that guy that on the scouting report it says he really doesn’t have anything to get you out, but he keeps getting you out,” Mazey says. “Hitters walk back to the dugout and they’re talking to each other and they’re frustrated.”
Equally impressive was junior right-hander Sean Carley, who pitched the eighth and ninth innings, striking out four of the seven batters he faced.
Johnson continued his tear with two more hits. The right fielder is now 13-for-25 (.520) with two doubles, one triple, 13 runs batted in and two stolen bases in his last seven games.
Senior left fielder Jacob Rice led all players with three hits and two runs, and junior second baseman Billy Fleming went 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Junior center fielder Bobby Boyd and senior first baseman Ryan McBroom each had two hits.
The Mountaineers scored the game’s first run in the fourth inning.
Rice got it started with a bunt single back to the Wildcats pitcher Nate Griep, whose errant throw allowed Rice to advance to third base. Johnson then hit a single down the left field line to score Rice.
West Virginia batted around in the sixth and increased its lead to 5-0. McBroom and Rice led off with back-to-back singles to left field. Johnson then cleared the bases with his first career triple down the right field line and scored when junior catcher Cam O’Brien doubled off the right-center field wall.
Freshman designated hitter Jackson Cramer and Boyd walked to load the bases with two outs for Fleming, who hit an infield single to short, scoring O’Brien.
The Wildcats got their only run of the contest in the top of the seventh with a solo home run off the left field foul pole by Tanner DeVinny.
The Mountaineers picked up an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when Fleming singled to left center to score Boyd from second. Boyd had reached with a two-out double.
Griep (3-4) got the loss in his eighth start of the season for Kansas State, going five innings and allowing five runs, four earned, off eight hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
The Mountaineers will travel to Charleston Wednesday for a game against Marshall at Appalachian Power Park. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. The game can be heard locally on ESPN Radio 102.3 The Ticket.