Mountaineers Complete Sweep

Coming off an emotional walk-off win Saturday against Kansas State, West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey wanted to get a message across to his team about seizing opportunities when you get them.

Heading into this weekend's series against the Wildcats, WVU was very much a team on the bubble. It had struggled early in conference play, dropping six of its first eight Big 12 games of the season, and was trying to work back up in the conference standings.

"This was a huge game, just to prove to us that if we're in this situation again, we can start to get confidence in the third game of the series," Mazey said. "When we get into postseason tournaments and that type of thing, you'll have to play a lot of games in a short period of time. It's good to know you can grind one out."

And that's exactly what it did in Sunday's 6-1 win over K-State at Hawley Field.

It took a while for the offense to get going, but West Virginia was able to get another solid outing from Ross Vance in his third career start to set the pace.

The crafty southpaw was able to keep the best hitting team in the Big 12 off balance and at bay for the majority of the game, throwing seven innings, allowing seven hits and just one run while striking out seven batters and not walking anyone.

Only three Kansas State hitters recorded hits against the McKinney, Texas, native and the five left-handed batters in the Wildcat lineup went 0-for-14 with four strikeouts.

"He's that guy who, on the scouting report, it says doesn't have anything to get you out but he keeps getting guys out," Mazey said. "Hitters walk back to the dugout and they're talking to each other and they're frustrated. The hitting coaches have meetings about how to hit this guy. That's kind of just how he pitches - he frustrates people."

After three full innings of scoreless baseball, the Mountaineers struck first in the bottom of the fourth inning by capitalizing on K-State's first mistake of the game. A throwing error by starting pitcher Nate Griep allowed left fielder Jacob Rice to advance all the way to third on a single before he was brought in by Brad Johnson on the next pitch with a single down the left field line.

Johnson came up big again two innings later when his two-run triple kicked off a four-run sixth inning. He came in to score after Cam O'Brien followed his triple with a double off the right field wall. O'Brien went on to score later in the inning on a single by Billy Fleming as WVU batted around the order - providing the knockout punch.

Since WVU started its current six-game winning streak with a win against Oklahoma last Saturday, Johnson has driven in 11 runs.

"He's been great with guys on base," Mazey said. "He's seeing it pretty well right now. His opportunity came at the halfway point of the season and he sure has taken advantage of it."

Kansas State was able to get a run on the board in Vance's final inning when Tanner DeVinny hit a home run off the left field foul pole to make it 5-1.

Sean Carley came in for the final two innings to shut the door on the Wildcats. His second appearance since being moved into the bullpen, Carley allowed just one baserunner - a ninth-inning walk to R.J. Santigate - and struck out four batters to seal the victory.

"The character of this team is starting to show up," Mazey said. "The big comeback win against Oklahoma last Saturday propelled us and proved to our guys that, no matter what, we're never out of this thing."

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