The West Virginia Mountaineers (15-16) hosted the Oklahoma State Cowboys (19-12-1) in game one of a three game series Friday night. The Mountaineers had some mental mistakes that gave the edge to the Cowboys 7-4.
Mountaineer starting pitcher Shane Ennis gave up a run in the first inning on two hits. Matt Kroon got on base with a chopper to third and then he stole second to get himself into scoring position. Colin Simpson would move Kroon to third on a sacrifice grounder to first and Jon Littell scored him with a single through left side.
West Virginia would strike back in the bottom of the first with two runs of their own.
Brandon White got the team going with a walk and then stole second base to getting into scoring position. He took third base on a wild pitch and Darius Hill hit a triple into right centerfield, bringing in White. Marques Inman batted Hill in with a fielder’s choice to second and the Mountaineers held a 2-1 lead.
Oklahoma State took the lead back in the third inning with a three-run home run. Ennis struck out Andrew Rosa and then Kroon to flied out to right field, but after back to back walks, he set the table for Michael Neustifter to clear the bases with a shot over the left field fence.
With the Cowboys leading 4-2 they added another three runs in the fourth inning to extend their lead.
West Virginia’s BJ Myers came in to the game for Ennis to start the fourth inning and pinch hitter Jake Taylor singled through the left side.
With one out after striking Carson McCusker, Andrew Rosa hit a ground ball to the shortstop Jimmy Galusky, he flipped it over to Kyle Gray and he bobbled the ball unable to get the force out a second, which could have turned into a double play opportunity, keeping the inning alive.
There were two outs after Myers struck out Kroon, and with guys on first and second, Colin Simpson hit a bomb over the left center wall and the Cowboys went up 7-2.
The Mountaineers responded with two runs in the bottom half of the fourth inning.
Kyle Gray hit a solo homerun on the first pitch to get some momentum going for West Virginia and then back to back singles by Ivan Gonzalez and Chase Illig gave the Mountaineers another opportunity.
Isaiah Kearns flied out to centerfield to advance Gonzalez to third and Galusky hit a deep fly ball to center to bring home Gonzalez.
Oklahoma State could only get one runner into scoring position in the next five innings, while the Mountaineers left two runners on in the fifth inning, had the bases loaded in the eighth inning and a man on first and third in the ninth inning and came up empty handed.
The bottom of the seventh inning brought a scenario that not many, if anyone has seen. With two outs and Darius Hill at first base, Kyle Gray hit a hard ground ball into the gap between second and first base.
The first base umpire called Hill out, saying that the ball hit Hill, but the second base umpire called a balk before the pitch was delivered.
Now the ball didn’t change trajectory, it didn’t look like it hit Hill, but with the second base umpire calling a balk the Mountaineers had the choice of taking the third out or taking the balk and putting Hill at second base.
The Mountaineers had no choice but to take the balk, but if that hit would have stood, West Virginia would have had two guys on base with some momentum. Instead, Gray ended up grounding out to the shortstop to end the inning.
There was a lot of confusion on what exactly went on. When West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey was asked about the call and he immediately asked back “What do you all think happened?” He seemed a bit agitated with the call. “Yeah, it’s what you do in the backyard when you don’t like the way it came out, you just do it again. No, the second base umpire called a balk on the pitcher and the first base umpire said the ball hit Darius. That’s what they told me.”
It was a tough night for the Mountaineers with missed opportunities on offense and defense. The Cowboys took advantage of some situations. “They’re really hot right now, their swinging the bats really well. You give them a free base; good teams will find a way to make you pay for it and that’s what they did.” Said Mazey.
Game two of the three game series is Saturday at 4 pm est at Monongalia Ball Park.