canada africa partner reservation Clark’s gem, the late power surge, lifts WVU to a 13-0 victory over Kansas State

Clark’s gem, the late power surge, lifts WVU to a 13-0 victory over Kansas State

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(Photo gallery by Teran Malone)

GRANVILLE, W.Va. — Moments after participating in Senior Day and graduation ceremonies on the field at Kendrick Family Ballpark, WVU senior left-hander Derek Clark delivered one of his best performances as a Mountaineer. Clark pitched seven shutout innings and had plenty of support as West Virginia rolled over Kansas State 13-0 to even the weekend series.

Clark allowed two hits and walked two while striking out 10, tying for the season lead.

“If that guy is coming off a less than stellar performance, he has a lot of pride now,” WVU head coach Randy Mazey said. “He didn’t pitch great in Cincinnati. He conceded a few hits and was quite driven that he would prove to everyone that he wasn’t him.’

“It was pretty fun,” WVU catcher Logan Sauve said. “Almost everywhere I line up, he hits it. It’s pretty cool to catch someone like Derek.”

WVU took a 3–0 lead in the third inning on a two-run single by Sam White and a stolen base by JJ Wetherholt to score on a double steal. In the fourth inning, Clark was one stroke away from completing the frame before play was halted due to storms in the area. The delay lasted only thirty minutes. Clark returned to the mound and needed just one pitch to end the inning.

“Honestly, it was kind of fun,” Clark said. “My change was so-so at first. I was just talking to Coach Oney about it and found out. After that I felt like my stuff was ten times better.

“It depends on the man,” Mazey said. “It depends on how long the delay is. You don’t want to do that if it takes 45 minutes, something like that. It’s going to be quite tough. Because it was a short break, I thought both pitchers got better.”

West Virginia knocked K-State starting pitcher Jackson Wentworth out of the game in the seventh inning. Wetherholt hit a 400-foot blast over the batter’s eye in center field to extend WVU’s lead to 4-0 in the sixth inning. WVU added five runs in the seventh and four more in the eighth.

“We wanted him to throw a lot of pitches because he’s a converted starter and hasn’t played much deep in games,” Mazey said. “We wanted each player to see at least four or five pitches the first time. And they did that.”

White went 2-for-4 with five runs batted in and a three-run home run that landed on top of the facilities building in right field.

“I said that was probably one of the two coolest things I’ve ever done,” White said. “I stand by that. It was just a really cool moment.”

Sauve added a three-run home run in the eighth inning.

Clark, Reed Chumley, Hayden Cooper and Hambleton Oliver were all honored on Senior Day.

“It’s cool and sad at the same time,” Mazey said. “That’s 35 years of saying goodbye to a higher class and it never gets easier. These are the children who will mean a lot to me in ten years’ time, when they have finished playing. I will have a relationship with those four seniors for the rest of my life.’

Sunday’s series finale could be West Virginia’s final home game of the season and the final home game for Mazey. He will retire at the end of the season after 12 years leading the Mountaineers.

“I don’t want to be a distraction because we have a big game tomorrow. We have to win this game,” Mazey said. “I don’t want this to ever be about me. This has always been about the kids, the players, the coaches and the fans. If I make it about me, I feel a little ashamed.”