Ethier's Ninth-Inning Triple Propels K-State to 8-6 Win




15-19 (2-8 Big 12)

17-15 (4-5 Big 12)

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
KST 1 0 0 2 3 0 0 0 2 8 11 0
WVU 0 0 2 0 0 1 3 0 0 6 8 3
W: Zubradt (1-0) L: Hardy (0-1) S: Benenati (2)
  • Time of Game: 3:18
  • First Pitch: 6:36 pm
  • Temperature: 71 F
  • Wind: NE 5-10
  • Attendance: 1,758

MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – Josh Ethier hit a two-run triple in the top of the ninth inning to help K-State answer West Virginia’s comeback attempt and the Wildcats opened the series with an 8-6 win on Friday at Monongalia County Ballpark.

After West Virginia (17-15, 4-5 Big 12) used a three-run home run by Kyle Davis in the seventh to tie the game at 6-6, the Wildcats (15-19, 2-8 Big 12) were sparked by a leadoff walk from Tyler Moore and the Mountaineer’s third error of the game, on a Tyler Wolfe sacrifice bunt attempt, to stage the rally in the ninth. Quintin Crandall moved the senior Tylers up a base before Ethier, who had two hits and a walk in the game, drilled the first pitch delivered by Blake Smith to the warning track in right to drive in the game-deciding runs.

Following last Sunday’s win against Texas and their first win ever in Morgantown (1-3), the Wildcats have now won back-to-back games for the first time since mid-March.

“A lot of grit tonight, to be able to come back like that,” said K-State head coach Brad Hill. “Big hit (by Ethier). We got a break – they made an error on the (Tyler Wolfe) bunt – but we took advantage of it.”

The Wildcats led 6-2 after the top of the sixth, but West Virginia reliever Jeff Hardy retired 11 in a row from the fifth through the eighth to keep K-State at bay. The stretch was snapped by Moore’s leadoff walk in the ninth.

Lucas Benenati turned in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to notch his second save of the season. Mitch Zubradt did not allow a run in his 1 1/3 innings of work to earn his first career win.

Leadoff hitter Clayton Dalrymple led K-State by going 3-for-4 with three runs, a walk and RBI. The multi-hit game was the senior’s team-high – and career-high – 17th of the campaign.

Dalrymple sparked the Wildcat offense from the start when he reached with a bloop single to open the game. Moore later drove him in for the first of his two RBI with a two-out single. After Dalrymple scored on the second West Virginia error in the fourth to tie the game, Moore then added a sacrifice fly to give K-State a 3-2 advantage.

Moore joined Dalrymple, Ethier and Jake Scudder with multi-hit games while he was also one of three (Wodtke, Ethier) to have two RBI.

K-State broke out for three runs in the fifth behind a bunt RBI single by Dalrymple and two-run double by Jake Wodtke. The run-producing hits were set up by Crandall being hit by a pitch, by West Virginia starting pitcher Chad Donato, to open the inning and an opposite-field single by Ethier off Hardy.

Donato threw four-plus innings, allowing four runs, two earned, on seven hits and three walks, but he forced the Wildcats to strand nine baserunners over the first four frames. The right-hander also struck out seven.

“Donato wasn’t very sharp, but he’s such a competitor,” said Hill. “We didn’t get the big hit like we needed to until the double by Wodtke down the line.”

K-State starting pitcher Parker Rigler retired the first eight he faced, but a two-out walk in the third extended the frame for the top of the West Virginia order. Darius Hill and KC Huth then came through with back-to-back two-out doubles into right field to make it 2-1.

Rigler finished his outing with two runs against on four hits and two walks in 4 1/3 innings. The southpaw also struck out four, giving him 47 this season.

After Rigler surrendered his fourth hit of the night to load the bases in the fifth, the Wildcats summoned Nick Jones from the bullpen. The right-hander induced a first-pitch groundball by Huth as Wodtke turned a double play to hold the Mountaineers scoreless.

A sacrifice fly by Ivan Vera cut the Wildcats’ lead to 6-3 in the sixth, preceding Davis’ game-tying homer. Colton Kalmus, who inherited two runners in the sixth, allowed the sac fly and roundtripper.

K-State and West Virginia will meet in game two of the series on Saturday at 4 p.m. Right-hander Levi MaVorhis will oppose lefty Ross Vance in the starting pitching matchup.

The last time K-State won back-to-back games was March 12-13 against Milwaukee.

The victory was also the Wildcats’ first in a Big 12 series opener this season.

K-State is 11-1 this season when it scores six or more runs. 

Tyler Moore extended his on-base streak to a season-high 13 games.