Long Ball Attack Continues In WVU’s Sunday Win Over Kansas

Four home runs? That was nothing. After setting its 2022 game high in round trippers on Saturday, West Virginia smacked five on Sunday, including three consecutive shots in the fifth inning, to power a 10-8 win over Kansas and a 2-1 series win.

WVU needed them all, as Kansas (18-26, 3-12) hit two of their own, including a three-run moon shot from Caleb Upshaw in the bottom of the ninth to cut the deficit to two. The Jayhawks got a walk to bring the potential tying run to the plate, but WVU reliever Trey Braithwaite earned a two-pitch save, his sixth of the year, by inducing a pop-up to end the game.

The back-to-back-to-back homers turned a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead midway through the game, and all came with two out, as McGwire Holbrook, Nathan Blasick and Braden Barry cleared the fence in left center, right and and left fields respectively. Holbrook’s hit just cleared the wall, while the blasts of Blasick and Barry were well over 400 feet.

Coupled with a pair of two-run taters — Grant Hussey’s in the seventh and Barry’s in the ninth — WVU accounted for seven of its 10 runs with the long ball.

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West Virginia appeared poised for a big inning in the first when it loaded the bases with a pair of walks on either side of a flared double from JJ Wetherholt, but the Mountaineers managed to score just one run on McGwire Holbrook’s double play groundout. It added another in the second when Mikey Kluska scored on a dropped popup off the glove of KU second baseman Tavian Josenberger.

The Jayhawks, as they did all weekend, responded, scoring four runs over the next two innings to grab a 4-2 lead. WVU, though, posted six runs in its next three at-bats, including the triple-header homer show, an Austin Davis RBI double and Hussey’s smooth-swing long ball, to take a three-run lead into the ninth.

The fireworks were far from over, though. After Barry’s two-run laser shot appeared to have delivered the coup de grace for WVU in the ninth, Kansas leaped off life support status with Upshaw’s bomb, but Braithwaite got the final out to give the Mountaineers (26-16, 9-6) the series win.

Until giving up the ninth-inning homer, WVU reliever Noah Short was ultra-efficient, having retired eight KU hitters on just 22 pitches. Zach Ottinger (2-1) got the win with his 2.1 innings of work in relief of starter Zach Bravo.

SEAMS AND BARRELS

WVU does not have a mid-week game scheduled prior to its home series with Texas this weekend, but head coach Randy Mazey said efforts to get one on the slate continue.

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West Virginia continues to battle to get consistent starting pitching, as encouraging efforts have been interspersed with some rocky showings. It’s unlikely that Jacob Watters or Ben Hampton, the Friday and Saturday starters, are moving anywhere, but might Chris Sleeper, who started a couple of games at the beginning of the season, get another shot at the Sunday spot?

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While the wind was not howling as it was in the first two games of the series, it still provided some challenges on Sunday. Both teams saw tall popups fall safely between fielders that appeared to have the ball surrounded, and just about any ball to the outfield was difficult to judge.

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The teams combined for 24 hits, with 13 of those going for extra bases. Seven of Kansas’ nine leadoff hitters reached base.


 

 

 

Home Page forums Long Ball Attack Continues In WVU’s Sunday Win Over Kansas

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  • #181384

    Four home runs? That was nothing. After setting its 2022 game high in round trippers on Saturday, West Virginia smacked five on Sunday, including thre
    [See the full post at: Long Ball Attack Continues In WVU’s Sunday Win Over Kansas]

    #181386

    Mountaineers (26-16, 9-6) is a bit of a yo-yo season but I’ll take it. Better than the football record and more in line with what Huggins usually does. Last season was a rare exception. Bob will fix that. He always does.

    #181396

    Have got to pitch better.

    #181397

    A must win.  Looking forward to a great home environment for the big battle with the Longhorns

    #181400

    Went to the games on Sat & Sunday & it seemed that every count went to 3-2 on the KU hitters. Also, WVU seems to make too many outs at 3rd base. wins are wins though.

    #181414

    I watched the games.  I agree, the pitching is going to have to be much, much better if we want to win the series against Texas.

    #181419

    The pitching they have is the pitching they have.

    This year’s team doesn’t have a Harrison Musgrave or John Means etc.

    What this team does have is a very deep bullpen though. If you look at the games, its the starting pitching that gets them in holes they can’t dig out of.

    Right now the starting pitchers aren’t coming close to 5 full innings.

    They’re walking and hitting too many guys, which was a huge problem last year.

    The difference between this year and last year is the offense last year didn’t produce enough runs to help overcome slow starts to pitching, and the bullpen was a disaster.

    This team is light years better than last year. But still really isn’t ready to challenge for the conference title.

    Battling their way into a Regional is still on the table, however, because of the RPI strength of the conference and also of the teams we played early in the year.

    Central Michigan, Coastal Carolina, Campbell, Illinois. These teams have marched their way into the Top 100 (Q2) and are giving WVU a solid boost.

    Win the home series, steal a game on the road. We’ve now won two road series and lost a home series, which really still works out RPI wise.

    The Texas series is going to be huge for post-season aspirations. Especially with Texas coming off getting swept.

    But WVU cannot lose another mid-week game. And Mazey is working to pick up more games as due to weather issues we’re short of the max games allowed.

     

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Home Page forums Long Ball Attack Continues In WVU’s Sunday Win Over Kansas

Home Page forums Long Ball Attack Continues In WVU’s Sunday Win Over Kansas