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Virginia catches up and beats Kansas State Baseball in series opener

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Kansas State's baseball team picked up right where it left off last week at the Fayetteville Regional, but maintaining momentum against Virginia at the Charlottesville Super Regional proved more difficult.

After blowing an early 3-0 lead — and then staying alive in the seventh inning thanks to David Bishop's solo home run that tied the game at 4-4 — the Wildcats couldn't keep Virginia at bay. A three-run home run by Henry Godbout in the bottom of the inning proved decisive as the Cavaliers cruised to a 7-4 victory on Friday night at Disharoon Park in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Evan Blanco (8-3) pitched the first seven innings and secured the win, Matt Augustin got the last two outs and secured his first save. Blake Dean (4-4) suffered a loss as a replacement for Owen Boerema for K-State.

Related: Kansas State baseball pitcher Ty Ruhl's comeback from injury gives the Wildcats a big boost

Related: Kansas State Baseball beats top-ranked Arkansas in NCAA Fayetteville Regional

Virginia reaches the Wildcat bullpen

Virginia didn't have much luck with Kansas State starter Boerema, but was able to get its bats going late against the Wildcat bullpen.

The Cavaliers, whose batting average is second-highest in the nation, took the lead for the first time in the sixth inning on Griff O'Ferrall's two-run double off Wildcat relief pitcher Dean. They then broke a 4-4 tie in the seventh inning on Henry Godbout's three-run homer off Cole Wisenbaker to take the lead for good.

Bad luck for Owen Boerema

K-State starter Boerema was outstanding in his 5 2/3 innings, continually working his way out of trouble with runners on base until Virginia finally broke through with two unearned runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. The Cavaliers didn't have a hit in that inning, but managed a sacrifice fly and a ground ball RBI to get within one point.

Boerema had to give way to freshman Dean in the sixth inning with two outs and runners on first and second base, but a wild pitch and Griff O'Ferrall's two-run ground rule double gave Virginia its first lead.

Boerema allowed seven hits with three walks and five strikeouts, but played no role in the decision.

Kaelen Culpepper delivers early in the decisive phase

K-State shortstop Kaelen Culpepper struck out twice, but he took advantage of his first opportunity with runners in scoring position.

Culpepper, last week's Most Valuable Player at the Fayetteville Regional, hit a double down the left field line in the third inning to give the Wildcats a 3-0 lead.

David Bishop also had a big hit for the Wildcats at the beginning of the seventh inning: a solo home run tied the game at 4-4 after Virginia had taken the lead in the sixth inning.

Arne Green lives in Salina and covers Kansas State University sports for the Gannett Network. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @arnegreen.