K-State Holds On For 4-3 Series-Clinching Victory

Matt Wivinis allowed three first-inning runs but shuts down WVU over the next six frames.

March 16, 2013

Final Stats  |  Series Highlights

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas State right-hander Matt Wivinis worked seven solid innings and Jake Matthys was perfect over the final two frames as the Wildcats held on for a 4-3 victory over West Virginia Saturday at Tointon Family Stadium.

K-State improved to 12-7 overall and 2-1 in Big 12 play, coming back to win the series after an 11-run loss in the opener. It was the first time K-State won its Big 12-opening series since sweeping Oklahoma State in 2010. WVU fell to 8-11 overall and 1-2 in league play.

With the Wildcats clinging to their one-run lead, Mountaineer designated hitter Matt Frazer led off the eighth inning against Wivinis with a towering triple off the top of the elevated right-field wall as WVU looked to tie the game.

Kansas State elected to go to Matthys, who picked up the win in the nightcap of Friday's doubleheader. The freshman induced a short fly ball to right field for the first out, which held Frazer at third base. West Virginia then made a move itself, bringing in Kevin Cohen in to run for the 6-foot-5, 260-pound Frazer.

Matthys faced Ryan McBroom next, who had four hits and six RBI in Friday's doubleheader, and the first baseman pulled an inside fastball that appeared to be heading down the left-field line to tie the game. However, Wildcat third baseman RJ Santigate snared the line drive and early doubled Cohen off third base.

With extra life given to West Virginia, all Matthys did was strike out Billy Fleming on an inside fastball to end the frame before working a scoreless ninth with a pair of strikeouts for his first career save.

"He's a good competitor," head coach Brad Hill said of his freshman hurler. "He didn't have such a good go against Cal Poly, which was the first time he was really hit around. He came in, watched film and Coach (Josh Reynolds) challenged him. He really shows a lot of composure and toughness. You like a guy on the mound like that. He wasn't scared. There was no fear in him."

Wivinis (3-0) allowed three early runs in his second-straight start as Ryan Tuntland drove in two on a single and McBroom followed with a run-scoring base hit himself in the first inning. However, the sophomore only allowed three hits over the next six innings and worked around four free passes to keep the Mountaineers scoreless after the first.

A product of Downers Grove, Ill., Wivinis struck out five in seven innings on Saturday just one week after striking out five against No. 21 Cal Poly in his first career complete game. Wivinis also threw a career-high 113 pitches against the Mountaineers, surpassing his previous career best of 91 last week.

"You obviously don't want to give up three runs in the first, but what was important were all those zeros after that," Hill said. "It's a credit to him because he completed. He didn't have good stuff, but finally in the fifth inning, he started making better pitches and got the ball down in the zone."

K-State was led offensively by Tanner Witt and Blair DeBord with two hits apiece. Both players produced RBI singles in the second inning, while Ross Kivett also drove home a run on a ground out as the Wildcats tied the game at 3-3.

After a pair of scoreless innings, the first four K-State hitters in the fifth inning reached base off West Virginia starting pitcher John Means (2-1) to score the eventual game-winning run. After Shane Conlon was hit by a pitch, Jared King and Jon Davis both reached via singles. Santigate was next and fell behind in the count, 0-2, but the third pitch of the at-bat hit him square in the back, driving in the run.

West Virginia was led offensively by Frazer and Jacob Rice with two hits apiece.

K-State hosts a two-game midweek series against Minnesota, Tuesday and Wednesday, at Tointon Family Stadium. Tuesday's contest begins at 6:30 p.m., while the series finale on Wednesday is scheduled for a 3 p.m., first pitch.

Tuesday is Youth in Sports, Scouts and 4-H Day and a 2-for-1 Tuesday as fans can purchase two adult general admission bench tickets for the price of one. Fans can order tickets online at www.k-statesports.com/tickets, by phone at 1-800-221-CATS or in person either at the main ticket office inside Bramlage Coliseum or at the Tointon Family Stadium box office beginning one hour prior to first pitch.

Tuesday's contest will be broadcast on Fox College Sports, while the series finale can be seen on Fox Sports Midwest. Listeners in the Manhattan area can hear the games on SportsRadio 1350 KMAN, while free live audio is also available online at both www.k-statesports.com and www.1350kman.com.