6:00: Morning News

Clark’s gem, late power surge lift WVU to 13-0 win over Kansas State

(Photo gallery by Teran Malone)

GRANVILLE, W.Va. — Moments after participating in Senior Day and graduation ceremonies on the field at Kendrick Family Ballpark, WVU senior southpaw Derek Clark turned in one of his best performances as a Mountaineer. Clark tossed seven shutout innings and he received ample run support as West Virginia rolled over Kansas State, 13-0 to even the weekend series.

Clark allowed two hits and walked two while striking out ten batters, which tied a season-best effort.

“When that guy comes off of a not great outing, he has got a lot of pride now,” said WVU head coach Randy Mazey. “He didn’t pitch great in Cincinnati. He gave up some hits and he was pretty driven that he was going to prove to everybody that’s not him.”

“It was pretty fun,” said WVU catcher Logan Sauve. “Pretty much wherever I set up, he hits it. It is pretty cool to catch someone like Derek.”

WVU took a 3-0 lead in the third inning after a two-run single from Sam White and a JJ Wetherholt stolen base to score on a double steal. In the fourth inning, Clark was one strike away from completing the frame before play was halted due to storms in the area. The delay lasted just thirty minutes. Clark returned to the mound and needed just one pitch to end the inning.

“Honestly it was kind of nice,” Clark said. “My changeup was so-so in the beginning. I was just talking to Coach Oney about it and figured it out. After that, it felt like my stuff was ten times better.”

“It depends on the guy,” Mazey said. “It depends on how long the delay is. You don’t want to do that if it gets into 45 minutes, something like that. It gets pretty tough. I thought, since it was a short delay, I thought both pitchers got better.”

West Virginia knocked K-State starting pitcher Jackson Wentworth out of the game in the seventh inning. Wetherholt hit a 460-foot blast over the batters eye in center field to extend WVU’s lead to 4-0 in the sixth inning. WVU added five runs in the seventh and four more in the eighth.

“We wanted him to throw a lot of pitches because he is a converted starter and hasn’t gone deep into games much,” Mazey said. “We wanted every guy to see at least four or five pitches the first time through. And they did that.”

White went 2-for-4 with five runs batted in and a three-run home run that landed on top the facilities building in right field.

“I said that was probably one of the top two coolest things I have ever done,” White said. “I am going to stand by that. It was just a really cool moment.”

Sauve added a three-run home run in the eighth inning.

Clark, Reed Chumley, Hayden Cooper and Hambleton Oliver were all honored on Senior Day.

“It is cool and it is sad at the same time,” Mazey said. “That’s 35 years of me saying goodbye to a senior class and it never gets easier. Those are the kids that mean a lot to me ten years from now when they are done playing. I will have a relationship with those four seniors the rest of my life.”

Sunday’s series finale could be West Virginia’s final home game of the season and the final home contest for Mazey. He will retire at the end of the season after a 12-year tenure leading the Mountaineers.

“I don’t want to be a distraction because we have a big game tomorrow. We need to win this game,” Mazey said. “I don’t want this ever to be about me. This has always been about the kids, the players, the coaches and the fans. Making it about me kind of embarrasses me a little bit.”

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