MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — An “effectively wild” Kade Strowd and two relievers held Kansas State to four hits, and West Virginia’s Marques Inman collected nearly that many himself in Saturday’s series clincher.
Cruising to a 6-0 victory, the Mountaineers climbed into sixth place in the Big 12 standings, a newsworthy accomplishment for a club that resided in last place eight days ago.
Chase Illig smacked a two-run homer and Inman went 3-for-4 with two RBI doubles for West Virginia (19-17, 4-7), which had lost seven consecutive league series dating back to April 2017. Another win on Sunday would give WVU its first three-game sweep in Big 12 action since May 2016.
Kansas State (16-23, 2-12) has lost 11 of its last 12.
Strowd (4-3) paired seven walks with seven strikeouts while pitching two-hit ball over 5 2/3 innings. He left after 103 pitches and issuing back-to-back two-out walks in the sixth, before Cody Wood induced a pop-up
“Seven walks is not ideal by any stretch — it’s rare to walk that many guys and still throw a shutout,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “He’s got to clean that up. But he does a good job of being effectively wild.”
After Brandon White’s sac-fly and Inman’s double made it 2-0 in the third, West Virginia tacked on four runs in the fourth to chase Wildcats starter Caleb Littlejim (2-2).
Illig’s two-run homer cleared the wall in right-center, the catcher/DH’s fifth of the year and his first in 46 at-bats dating back to March 17.
“When he’s calm up there and not putting pressure on himself to hit the ball to Cooper’s Rock every time he swings, then he has a chance to be a really good hitter,” Mazey said. “Sometimes he just gets out of his element.”
Inman added a two-out double off Hudson Treu. He’s 7-of-9 through two games this weekend and leading the team with a .349 average.
“He’s just really, really comfortable at the plate right now. He never panics, and I’m really comfortable in him at the plate,” Mazey said.
Tristen Hudson got the final six outs for WVU, extending his string of scoreless innings to 9 2/3 over six appearances.