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Furious Rally Falls Just Short as Jayhawks Take Sunday Finale 6-5

A 4-run rally had everyone at Monongalia County Ballpark thinking about a third straight walk-off, but Kansas did just enough to salvage the final game of the series.

Brandon White gets hit by a pitch
John Lowe/The Daily Athenaeum

Kansas Jayhawks: 6

#20 West Virginia Mountaineers: 5

It almost happened again.

For the 3rd straight game, WVU (24-14) (8-7) had a chance to end the game on a walk-off, but unlike the doubleheader on Saturday, they weren’t able to get it done on Sunday afternoon, falling 6-5 to the Jayhawks (20-18) (5-10).

Kade Strowd will figure it out.

The junior right-hander has been battling himself the past 2 starts, last week struggling with his command and this week throwing too many hittable balls.

Last Sunday vs. Texas Tech, Strowd walked 7 Red Raiders in just 4.0 innings, but was able to limit the damage to just 2 runs because he only gave up 3 hits.

Today, he surrendered 8 hits and 5 runs in 4.1 innings, but walked just 1.

Coach Mazey said after the game that he was “super encouraged” by Strowd’s performance today, because of his willingness to throw the ball over the plate. Strowd, coming into today, had a BAA below .200, so Mazey wants him to attack the zone, because hitters clearly have a tough time hitting his stuff, normally. Expect Strowd to attack the zone aggressively and more importantly, effectively, next Sunday against the Texas Longhorns.

The Jayhawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the 1st on 4 hits, including a RBI double by SS Benjamin Sems.

The Mountaineers got a run back in the 2nd on a RBI double by 2B Andrew Zitel, who got the start as everyday 2B Tyler Doanes got the day off as he nursed an injury.

Kansas tacked on 2 more runs in the 5th on a 2-RBI single by DH Nolan Metcalf to knock Strowd from the game.

Redshirt senior Zach Reid was huge out of the bullpen for WVU, closing the book in the 5th on a strikeout and fly out to keep it at 5-1. He then threw another 1.2 scoreless innings, ultimately giving up just 1 hit and striking out 3.

Kansas was able to take advantage of a rough outing by freshman Zach Ottinger, who entered with 2 outs in the 7th inning. He gave up consecutive singles to KU star catcher Jaxx Groshans and Metcalf before getting the hook by Mazey in favor of freshman Beau Lowery. Unfortunately, Lowery wasn’t able to end the 2-out rally, immediately hitting 2B James Cosentino to load the bases and walking Sems to force home a run. Ottinger was charged with the run, bringing his ERA to 5.19.

That add-on run by Kansas proved to be costly.

The Mountaineers, who have been spectacular offensively in the late innings this season, were able to tack on 4 runs in the bottom of the 8th to draw within 1.

Marques Inman hit a dribbler to 3rd base to allow Ivan Gonzalez to score after he hit a 1-out double and then advanced to 3rd on a single by Darius Hill. After a pitching change, Paul McIntosh delivered a RBI double that scored Hill to make it 6-3. With two runners in scoring position, Mazey decided to pinch-hit slugger Kevin Brophy, who delivered a 2-RBI single and brought the Mountaineers to within 1.

TJ Lake got a leadoff single to start the bottom of the 9th, which I’m sure gave Kansas manager Ritch Price a nervous sweat. However, after Brandon White struck out and Gonzalez flew out, it was looking bleak for the Mountaineers. Darius Hill, who seemingly gets a hit every time WVU needs him to, hit a 2-1 pitch right back up the middle for a base knock that put tying run in scoring position with clutch slugger Marques Inman coming to the plate. Unfortunately, Inman struck out to end it and give Kansas a series salvaging 6-5 win on Easter Sunday.

The Mountaineers will host the Penn State Nittany Lions (17-18) (1-10 Big 10) on Tuesday evening (7:00 PM) for a midweek contest before heading to Austin, Texas next weekend for a matchup with the Texas Longhorns (24-18) (5-9 Big 12). It doesn't sound like Tyler Doanes will be available to play on Tuesday, but we’re hopeful he’ll be good to go for a big matchup vs. Texas.

Let’s go, Mountaineers!