Inman’s Blast Gives WVU Walk-Off Win
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In a classic Friday night pitchers’ duel transplanted to Saturday afternoon, West Virginia’s Alek Manoah outfought Kansas’ Ryan Cyr for a 1-0 win in the opener of a three game Big 12 series at Monongalia County Ballpark.
Manoah was again nearly unhittable, yielding two infield hits and a seeing eye grounder to the Jayhaws while striking out 15 and walking none. He threw 88 strikes on 115 pitches while lowering his ERA to 1.81.
Cyr was nearly as good, limiting WVU to six hits through eight innings while facing just 30 batters over that stretch. However, Inman, after taking a strike and fouling off a pair of pitches down the first base line, squared up an offering and drove it just left of of the batters’ eye in center and out of the park for the win.
Under partly cloudy skies that replaced Friday night’s rain, there were few scoring opportunities for either team. WVU’s Paul McIntosh was picked off in the bottom of the second, which was followed by a hit and a walk that could have loaded the bases, but a pop foul flyout ended the inning. Inman doubled in the sixth and was followed by a McIntosh walk, but again Cyr got a flyball out, one of eight on the day, to end the inning.
Kansas had its best chance in the top of the ninth. An infield single and a sneaky grounder down the line put Jayhawks on second and third with none out, but Manoah bore down to get a strikeout for the first out. A grounder back to Manoah hung up Dylan Ditzenberger between thrid and home, and when Ivan Gonzalez ran him back to third he found teammate Jaxx Groshans already there. Gonzalez applied the tag for the second out.
Then, with the crowd roaring, Josh Cosentino hit a sharp grounder to first that Inman gloved smoothly, then raced to the bag for the final out.
As it often seems to happen, Inman was then the first batter up, and followed his excellent play in the field with the blast to center to end the game.
In game two of the series, WVU lefthander Jackson Wolf (2-2. 3.88 ERA) is scheduled to go against Kansas righty Ryan Zeferjahn (3-2, 3.58 ERA).
SEAMS AND BARRELS
Manoah has now recorded 31.2 consecutive scoreless innings. He is the fourth WVU pitcher to record 15 or more strikeouts in two games in the same season.
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There were 17 strikeouts against two walks in the game. WVU’s Paul McIntosh and Kevin Brophy earned the free passes.
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WVU moved to 23-13 over all in the Big 12 and 7-6 in the league. Kansas fell to 19-17 and 4-9.
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Marques Inman has driven in the game-winning run in three consecutive victories