Mountaineers Avoid Sweep on a two-run walk-off Homerun from Darius Hill
Morgantown, WV – The No. 19 West Virginia Mountaineers (28-17, 11-10) rallied in the bottom of the ninth inning with three runs to avoid the sweep from the Texas Christian Horned Frogs (26-20,8-10) Sunday afternoon inside Monongalia County Ballpark. Momentum bounced back and forth throughout the game, but the comeback kids strike again behind the bats of Kevin Brophy and Darius Hill in the ninth inning.
TCU grabbed the lead in the first after West Virginia starting pitcher Kade Strowd struck out lead-off hitter Josh Watson, walked Jake Guenther, Austin Henry singled up the middle and Johnny Rizer hit a sacrifice grounder to second, taking a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, Tevin Tucker reached on a bunt down the third base line. He followed it up stealing second, then Austin Davis laid a bunt down and TCU pitcher Brandon Williamson couldn’t make the throw over to first.
“The bottom of the lineup, if we can just get those guys on base and make things happen and turn it over for the other guys, then that makes us a whole different team.” Said West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey after the gaem. “So, when Tevin and Austin Davis lead-off with two bunts and get on base with nobody out, you just feel good about out opportunity to score right there. That’s been the identity of our team, you know. You just got to get on there put pressure. I think the pitcher reacted to the pressure a little bit and got out of the strike zone and that affected him later in the game. They had to get him out of there in the seventh instead of the ninth.”
Now with runners at the corners hit a tough ground ball over to third that brought in the tying run.
The Horned Frogs took the lead in the fifth when Jake Guenther hit a bomb over right field to start the inning and TCU grabbed the momentum scoring two more runs and loaded the bases before Mazey came to the mound to put closer Sam Kessler to limit the damage. Kessler did just that getting out of the inning on a couple of ground balls and keeping TCU from growing their lead.
West Virginia put together a couple runs of their own in the seventh. Phillip Dull singled back up the middle on a hard line-drive and Williamson walked Zitel. That brought TCU head coach Jim Schlossnagle to the mound and called up Jared Janczak. He would get Tevin Tucker to pop up a bunt and Kevin Brophy to fly-out to centerfield, but a Tyler Doanes double and an infield single from Brandon White got the Mountaineers within a run.
Jake Guenther seemingly put the dagger in the Mountaineers with another solo shot over right field in the ninth. However, Kevin Brophy delivered a solo shot in the bottom of the inning to get WVU back within a run.
Then with two outs, Brandon White hit a ground ball to short, but hustled down the line to beat the throw to first, keeping the game alive.
That brought up Darius Hill, who was 0-4 on the day, crushed the ball into the batting cages in left-centerfield for the two-run homerun walk-off win.
“I knew I got it good.” Said a smiling Darius. “I was hoping it would carry just enough to get over. I saw the right fielder wasn’t going to get there, I’m like ‘we’re tied for sure’ then I saw it disappear, I can’t remember much after that. That was unbelievable.”
Randy Mazey stated the night before that the key to the game would be getting deep into the TCU bullpen. He didn’t quite achieve that goal but got the win.
“That guy (Marcello Perez) is really good, he’s been their closer.” Said Mazey. “They’ve had trouble bridging the gap between their starters and Perez. We really didn’t accomplish what we tried to, we need to see more arms but fortunately Darius comes up with maybe the biggest hit in his career and perhaps when you look back on this, maybe the biggest win of the season at this point.”
The Mountaineers return Wednesday as they travel to Blacksburg to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies at 6:00 pm.
|Team Batting Totals||34||6||10||6||3||0||2||3||7||0||1||1||7||2||2||27||10||0||—|