No. 24 West Virginia suffered its first conference loss of the season on Saturday. The nationally ranked Mountaineers struggled to get going offensively against Kansas State, falling by a final score of 7-1 in the middle game of the three-game weekend series.
The Mountaineers (20-7, 1-1 Big 12) were held to just four hits on the day, the lineup’s lowest total for any game this season.
One of those four hits was a run-scoring triple to right field by Landon Wallace. The transfer outfielder missed hitting a two-run home run by roughly a foot. The fly ball caromed off the raised portion of the wall merely 12 or so inches from the far left edge of the wall.
Wallace’s triple accounted for West Virginia’s only run of the day.
Kansas State (18-10, 5-3 Big 12) scored almost all of its runs on single swings of the bat. The Wildcats hit solo home runs in the bottom of the second, third, and fifth innings, and had back-to-back solo jacks in the eighth. Two of the longballs were hit by KSU’s eight- and nine-hole hitters, Raphael Pelletier and Roberto Pena. Kansas State also scored via a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
The Wildcats scored their seventh and final run on the strength of four consecutive walks with two outs in the eighth inning.
K-State starting pitcher German Fajardo held the Mountaineers to just one run on three hits, and struck out six during his seven innings on the mound. It was a much different outing for Fajardo, who got roughed up by the WVU lineup when he pitched against the Mountaineers at Wagener Field last season.
West Virginia starting pitcher Blaine Traxel’s streaks of two consecutive complete games and five consecutive wins both came to an end on Saturday. Traxel was charged with five runs on eight hits, four of which left the yard, and recorded just two strikeouts.
JJ Wetherholt extended his reached-base streak to 34 consecutive games.
WVU and Kansas State will battle for the series win Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. ET. West Virginia has won four consecutive weekend series dating back to Feb. 24-26 against Arizona.