It was a bad day to be a pitcher in Lawrence, especially if he was wearing the Jayhawk blue.
West Virginia and Kansas combined to hit 24 hits in Saturday’s Big 12 clash at Hoglund Ballpark, including seven home runs. The Mountaineers hit four of those homers as they took a 10-7 victory over KU to even the weekend series at a game apiece.
WVU opened the scoring in the first inning after JJ Wetherholt and Victor Scott II knocked back-to-back doubles. Scott’s sent Wetherholt home to give WVU a one-run lead.
Kansas was quick to answer in the bottom of the inning. Caleb Upshaw tied it up with a one-out RBI double, just before Jake Hammond gave KU the lead with an RBI groundout.
Grant Hussey knocked the first homer of the contest on the first pitch of the second inning, sending it to the opposite field to tie the game up. He hit another solo shot in the ninth inning for an insurance run as part of his 3-for-5 day.
Hussey’s slam was the start of a dinger parade as the teams traded shots over the fence. McGwire Holbrook gave WVU the lead back in the third with a no-doubt homer to left field, then was answered by KU’s Dylan Ditzenberger with a homer in the bottom of the inning.
Austin Davis hit the only multi-RBI homer of the game in the fourth inning, sending a three-run shot into left field to take back the lead. Again, though, the Jayhawks answered in the bottom as Cooper McMurray homered to center field to end WVU starter Ben Hampton’s day and start a three-run fourth inning for Kansas.
McMurray homered again in the fifth inning, but that was the end of KU’s scoring. They didn’t lack in chances, though, as they loaded the bases in the seventh and left four runners on base over the last four frames.
Davis hit the game-winning RBI in the sixth inning off of Payton Allen, scoring Mikey Kluska to put the Mountaineers ahead. WVU finished that frame with three runs, then took a three-run lead in the ninth when Grant Hussey pulled his second homer over the fence in right center.
That gave Allen (2-2) the loss in just an inning of work, allowing three runs on three hits with a walk.
Chris Sleeper (3-4) took the victory as Hampton’s reliever, allowing two runs on four hits with a strikeout in three innings. Chase Smith took the save after closing out the last 2.2 innings without allowing a runner on base.
Hampton struggled in his 11th start of the season, throwing 3.1 innings and allowing five runs on seven hits with five strikeouts.
Cole Larsen got the start for the Jayhawks and tossed the first four innings. He allowed six runs on five hits with five walks and two strikeouts.
Scott II stole two bases in the contest adding to his single-season record with 32. His two steals were also the first bases he had stolen in two weeks since breaking the record against Oklahoma State on April 16.
WVU evens the series with the victory and improves to 8-6 in the Big 12, while Kansas falls to 3-11 in the conference. That puts the Mountaineers fifth in the league standings, while KU remains at the bottom.
The series rubber match is set for 1 p.m. ET on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. Righty Zach Bravo (3-1, 5.73) is likely to start on the mound for the Mountaineers and will face KU righty Ryan Vanderhei (5-3, 5.96)