Takeaways: Aidan Major Key in WVU Baseball’s 9-5 Win Over Oklahoma State
WVU baseball won their second straight game against No. 18 Oklahoma State on Saturday, defeating the Cowboys 9-5. After the Cowboys drove up starter Blaine Traxel’s pitch count, sophomore right-hander Aidan Major stepped in with 5.1 excellent innings in relief, finishing the game on just 71 pitches.
The Mountaineers have struggled over the past two weeks, but they’ve taken steps in the right direction in this series against the Cowboys: Saturday was no different.
Major took over for Traxel with two on and two out in the fourth. He recorded a strikeout to end the inning, sparking a streak of seven straight batters retired. Entering with the Mountaineers down two runs, Major’s steady pitching gave the offense time to claw their way back into the game.
Of the six innings Major threw a pitch in, he allowed a base runner in just one of them: a pair of singles in the seventh (and an ensuing run) the lone blemish on his line. Major recorded 16 outs on the day, eight via strikeout.
Head coach Randy Mazey has been adamant all season that his younger pitchers are going to take their lumps as they continue to develop and get a feel for Division 1 baseball.
While Major has struggled at times this season, his upside as a starter and ability to pitch deep into games gives the Mountaineers an exciting glimpse of the future.
Wallace Wreaks Havoc
With superstar second baseman JJ Wetherholt set to miss some time with a hand injury, the Mountaineers need their secondary contributors to step up. Wallace has been on a tear since the Kansas series, when he hit three home runs in three games, and he continued the hot streak into this week.
Batting in the No. 2 spot (his new home in the lineup since last Sunday) Wallace went 2-for-4 with a home run, four RBI and a walk. His home run came at the perfect time, with the Mountaineers clinging to a one-run lead in the eighth inning: the three-run shot silenced any chance at a Cowboys comeback.
For the first two months of the season, the Mountaineers showed an admirable ability to roll with the punches, responding when the opposing team scored to maintain their lead or keep the deficit close.
That ability slipped away from them during last week’s series against Kansas and the midweek loss against Penn State, when it was the other team pulling ahead (and staying ahead) with decisive scoring blows.
With plays like Wallace’s home run, it looks like the Mountaineers found their killer instinct again. The Mountaineers gave up two runs on an error in the first inning: on the road against the No. 18 team in the country, that could’ve become ugly fast. Instead, they were able to hang in the game, keeping pace with the Cowboys and eventually outlasting them in the offensive slugfest.