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West Virginia’s sweep attempt derailed by K-State

West Virginia catcher Ivan Gonzalez tags out Kansas State’s Will Brennan at the plate Sunday. The Wildcats won 7-4 to avoid the series sweep.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Two outta three ain’t bad, except West Virginia wanted a weekend sweep against Kansas State.

That opportunity slipped away Sunday afternoon when a few too many walks and a late-arriving offense doomed the Mountaineers to a 7-4 loss.

“It’s very expensive losing this game. We had a chance to come back into the conference race,” coach Randy Mazey said. “At the end of the season, you’ll look back at this game and feel like it’s one you should have won.”

After being knotted 1-1 in the fifth inning, West Virginia (19-18, 4-8 Big 12) found itself trailing 7-1 in the eighth thanks to spotty bullpen work.

Tristen Hudson and Jackson Wolf combined to walk three of the four batters they faced in the fifth after WVU starter Braden Zarbnisky (2-2) departed. Alek Manoah yielded three runs in the eighth, following up an intentional walk with a bases-loaded wild pitch as his ERA climbed to 5.30.

“We just walked too many guys. We walked 22 batters in a weekend,” Mazey said. “In the long haul you’re going to lose consistently if you put guys on base for free.”

Kansas State (17-23, 3-12) snapped a nine-game Big 12 losing streak but only after West Virginia made a late charge.

Darius Hill’s RBI double and Kyle Gray’s sac-fly made it 7-3 in the eighth, and Jimmy Galusky’s one-out triple in the ninth led to another run.

The Mountaineers put two more runners aboard before Marques Inman — capping a 9-for-14 weekend — ended the game with a line-out to second base.

Despite winning two of the three from the Wildcats, West Virginia’s RPI slipped two spots 32.

“Every loss puts a little bit of burn in you, and after coming out yesterday and winning the series you definitely want to come out and win the third,” Galusky said. “It’s a little disappointing, but after winning the series we can carry that into next weekend.”

WVU faces Marshall (17-20) in Charleston on Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. before hosting Texas in another crucial Big 12 series next weekend.

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