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Mountaineers Pounce on Wildcats in Series Opener

West Virginia crushes Kansas State 15-4

Morgantown, WV - The West Virginia Mountaineers (31-20, 12-10) produced 15 runs on 15 hits in a dominating 15-4 decision over the Kansas Wildcats (27-25, 8-14) in the series opener Thursday night. 

Jacob Watters picked up his third win of the season, tossing five innings with three strikeouts, moving his strikeout total to 72 on the year. 

J.J. Wetherholt led all Mountaineers at the plate, going 3-4 with three RBIs and got the Mountaineers rolling in the bottom of the first with an opposite field two run home run to give WVU the early 2-0 advantage. 

Today we knew that guy (Kansas State starting pitcher Blake Adams) loved to live away [from the plate] and that was kind of the approach. I really tried to stay backside," said Wetherholt. 

J.J. Wetherholt

J.J. Wetherholt following through on a two-run home run in the first inning. 

West Virginia broke the game open with a five-run third inning. Austin Davis and Wetherholt drew walks to begin the rally, and a well executive bunt by Victor Scott loaded the bases before McGwire Holbrook cleared the bases with a standup double off the left field wall for all three of his RBIs. Then, Braden Barry singled, stole second and Dayne Leonard drove Holbrook and Barry in on a single into centerfield as the Mountaineers extended their lead 7-0. 

Kansas State put two runs on the board in the fifth after consecutive one-out walks setting up Dominic Johnson for a pair of RBIs off a double into right-centerfield, cutting into the deficit 7-2. 

Austin Davis

Austin Davis stealing second base. 

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In the bottom half of the inning, Barry doubled and, again, Leonard brought him around with a single for his third RBI of the evening and pushed the lead back up to six, 8-2. 

West Virginia opened the floodgates in the eighth, scoring seven runs - three coming off three-straight RBI singles from Austin Davis, Wetherholt, and Scott before Braden Barry put the ball in play with the bases loaded, scoring Wetherholt. Then, WVU head coach Randy Mazey sent Kevin Dowdell into pinch hit with one out and two on and he delivered a three-run home run as the Mountaineers captured a 15-3 lead. 

J. J. Wetherholt (27) celebrated with Austin Davis at home plate. 

J. J. Wetherholt (27) celebrated with Austin Davis at home plate. 

Kansas State produced a run in the ninth, and despite the 15-4 lopsided win, that one run in the ninth did not sit well with Mazey, and he believes all the momentum is now in the K-State dugout. 

"There’s no such thing as a blowout game that’s not followed by a dogfight," he said. "So, they’re going to have a lot of energy in the morning. The fact that they scored in the ninth inning doesn’t matter how many, the fact that they scored will give them life going into tomorrow. So, we can’t fall into the trap of overconfidence at this point. "

West Virginia and Kansas will meet for game two Friday at 6:30 pm EST and the series final is scheduled for Saturday at noon. 

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