After striking out three times Friday night, Kansas State’s Terrence Spurlin was thrilled to face any pitcher not named Alek Manoah.
The sophomore first baseman opened Saturday’s game with a three-run homer off West Virginia starter Jackson Wolf, added a solo shot in his next at-bat, and finished 3-for-3 as the Wildcats squared the series with an 8-6 win in Manhattan, Kan.
“Terry Spurlin had a big day for us,” said K-State coach Pete Hughes. “He got us going with a big three-run homer in the first. Our guys are pretty resilient. They came out and flushed everything from [Friday] night.”
West Virginia’s Tyler Doanes led off the game by homering for a second straight day, and Paul McIntosh went deep for the first time since missing six games with an injured shoulder. But the No. 22 Mountaineers (30-18, 12-11) couldn’t overcome an early deficit.
In a matchup of the Big 12’s two lowest-scoring teams, Kansas State (25-27, 8-12) took control with a five-run outburst in the first inning.
“You just can’t give up five runs in the first and expect to crawl back into it,” said West Virginia coach Randy Mazey.
Wolf (2-4) was rocked for a second consecutive start. He allowed seven hits and three walks over 4 2/3 innings, leading to a season-worst eight earned runs. His ERA climbed to 4.90.
After West Virginia pulled within 5-3 in the third inning, Wolf gave up the day’s second homer to Spurlin, his seventh of the season.
When Spurlin drew a two-out walk in the fifth, Chris Ceballos added a two-run shot and Mazey went to the bullpen.
West Virginia countered with a three-run sixth against Eric Torres (1-1), highlighted by McIntosh’s RBI double down the right-field line. K-State reliever Andrew Stratman ended the two-on threat by striking out TJ Lake and Kevin Brophy.
“Stratman came in and kind of settled everything down,” Hughes said. “West Virginia is such a momentum team and they had it going in their direction. Stratman came in and did a good job and just quieted things down.”
Will Brennan earned his third save with a perfect ninth.
McIntosh retook the West Virginia team lead in homers with nine.
The series continues Sunday with West Virginia’s Kade Strowd (4-5, 4.71) facing Wildcats freshman Jordan Wicks (6-1, 2.69). At stake for the Mountaineers, a chance to finish above .500 in the conference for the third time in seven Big 12 seasons. There’s also an outside chance at hosting an NCAA regional should WVU finish the regular season strong and make waves in the conference tournament.