K-State Pitching Stifles WVU

For much of the year, West Virginia has gotten good hitting and solid pitching as it forged a better than expected start to the 2015 season. In its return to Big 12 action, neither of those were evident as the Mountaineers dropped an 8-2 decision to Kansas State.

West Virginia committed four errors, walked seven Kansas State batters while hitting three more, and got just six hits (three through the first seven innings) in the disappointing road loss to the Wildcats. The defeat, which snapped a seven-game winning streak, dropped the Mountaineers to 2-5 in the league and 16-11 overall.

"We walked seven, we hit I don't know how many and we gave a lot of free bases," Mazey noted. "The wind was blowing in and we didn't adjust to that very well. With the lack of energy in our offense that was one of our worst games of the season."

WVU starting pitcher Connor Dotson battled control problems from the outset, but managed to keep the Mountaineers at least nominally in the game as he scratched his way out of multiple jams. The Wildcats reached him for a pair of runs in both the third and fourth innings, but he stranded a total of four K-State runners in those two frames to keep the deficit at 4-0. Along the way, though, he walked four and hit two others while throwing 107 pitches in six innings of work.

"[Connor] made some really good pitches, but not enough of each," Mazey observed. "That comes of being a freshmen, and against good teams like this, that will happen. He'll continue to work on that and continue to grow. You have to learn how to win."

His counterpart, Colton Kolmus, showed no such issues. Although he worked just four innings, he threw more than two-thirds of his deliveries for strikes, and was only threatened in the fifth, when the Mountaineers put runners on second and third with no outs. However, relievers Jackson Douglas and Corey Fischer limited the damage to just one run, allowing the home team to maintain some breathing room at 4-1.

Any chance of a rally was ended in the seventh, when the Mountaineers completely fell apart. Utilizing a passed ball, a wild pitch a walk and two errors, the Wildcats plated three runs to push their lead to 7-1. Each squad added a cosmetic run in the late going to account for the final 8-2 margin.

While Kansas State was maximizing its eight hits to help produce its seven runs, West Virginia got little of the hitting production that helped fuel its winning streak. WVU's first three batters in the order combined to go 1-12, and only Brad Johnson, with two hits and a walk, was any sort of an offensive threat. Justin Fox and Cam O'Brien each tallied an RBI on groundouts.

WVU used four pitchers in the game, but only Jackson Sigman, who faced just one batter, emerged unscathed. Dotson allowed four earned runs, while Nick Wernke yielded two hits and three runs while getting just one out. Josh Bornstein gave up a run on two hits and two walks in 1.1 innings of work.

"What we've been doing to win is we've been on the attack," Mazey summed up. "We didn't do that tonight. I think the speed of the turf made our guys sit back, and we didn't adjust to that very well. We played really really poorly tonight. I expect to come out and play a better game tomorrow."

WVU faces Kansas State again in game two of the three game series on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. Ross Vance is the expected starter for the Mountaineers.

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