For the third start in a row, West Virginia left-hander Jackson Wolf had it all working for him. The senior matched a career-high with 11 strikeouts Friday night as WVU (17-21, 7-12 Big 12) took game one against the visiting Oklahoma Sooners (22-22, 6-10) by a score of 7-1.
While Wolf (4-5, 3.31) has been racking up strikeouts lately, opponents have still been finding ways to put runs on the board against him. In his last two starts before Friday, Wolf struck out 21 opposing hitters but allowed seven runs in 14 innings. He had no such problem against the Sooners, however, pitching seven full innings and allowing just one unearned run on three hits.
“I had all my pitches working,” Wolf said after the game. “I think I was able to use all of them in any count, I think that was the big thing for tonight. Everything was working good and I felt very comfortable out on the mound.”
It was not just the strikeout pitching working for Wolf. He also induced four ground outs and five flyouts.
“It’s 100% an indication that your stuff is either overpowering them or they’re not seeing it very well and guys are having uncomfortable at-bats,” Wolf said.
While Wolf was dealing on the mound, WVU’s offense wasted no time in giving him some run support. The Mountaineers scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning, all with two outs. Left fielder Paul McIntosh kicked the scoring off with a two-out solo home run to left-center field.
— WVU Baseball (@WVUBaseball) May 7, 2021
It was McIntosh’s sixth home run of the season, his second in as many games. McIntosh finished the game 2 for 4 with a double and a home run, giving him a five-game hitting streak.
“That’s been Paul’s m.o. his entire career here,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “The first half of the season he’s kind of feeling his way through it, the second half of the season he usually gets really hot. He’s standing in there and seeing the ball really good right now.”
McIntosh’s home run was followed up with a three-run inside-the-park home run by freshman designated hitter Nathan Blasick. A Matt McCormick double and Hudson Byorick single in the bottom of the second pushed WVU’s lead to six runs after just two innings and the Mountaineers were able to cruise to a 7-1 victory.
Despite the early trouble, Oklahoma starter Wyatt Olds (3-5, 5.64) lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing the Sooners to save their bullpen for the rest of this weekend’s series. Senior second baseman Conor McKenna had the team’s only RBI with a run-scoring single in the top of the fourth.
WVU and Oklahoma will play a doubleheader at Mon County Ballpark on Saturday with game one scheduled to begin at 3 p.m. Jake Carr (1-4, 10.09) is scheduled to start game one for WVU against OU’s Jake Bennett (3-3, 6.46). Game two is scheduled to be a matchup between Ben Hampton (3.1, 3.72) and Braden Carmichael (5-1, 4.41).