The West Virginia Mountaineers (21-19, 5-9) fought back against the #19 Texas Longhorns (30-16, 12-5) in a game two win at Monongalia County Ball Park Saturday afternoon. The Mountaineers trailed three times throughout the game before they won 8-6.
West Virginia starting pitcher Kade Strowd found himself in a bit of a jam to start the game when lead off hitter Duke Ellis singled to left field and with 1 out walked Kody Clemens.
Zach Zubia hit a fly ball to left field advancing Ellis to third. There were two outs with men on first and third for Strowd and he caught David Hamilton looking for a strikeout to get out of the inning.
The Mountaineers drew first blood in the bottom of the first inning when Brandon White hit a deep chopper to the shortstop and beat out the throw to first base.
White put himself into scoring position by stealing second base and Darius Hill brought him around with a single up the middle.
Texas took the lead in the second inning with a two-run home run from DJ Petrinsky and looked like they were picking up where they left off the night before.
West Virginia came right back at Texas with Isaiah Kearns hitting a ground rule double, Jimmy Galusky hitting a single through the left side advancing Kearns to third base and Braden Zarbnisky put the ball in play bringing home Kearns, tying the game up at two.
Texas regained the lead in the third inning with back to back doubles from Zach Zubia and David Hamilton giving the Longhorns the 3-2 advantage.
The Mountaineers Kyle Gray responded in the bottom of the third inning tying the game back up with a solo homerun over right centerfield.
In the bottom of the fifth inning with two outs, Marques Inman went opposite field and singled through the right side. Kyle Gray came back up to the plate and hit his second homerun of the day, this time it was a line drive over the right field wall and the Mountaineers had a two-run lead 5-3.
The Longhorns took the lead back from the Mountaineers in the top of the eighth inning. It started off much like the seventh inning did on Friday night where Texas scored six runs to go onto win the game.
West Virginia pitcher Tristen Hudson started the inning by hitting Petrinsky and walking Andy McGuire.
West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey went to his bullpen and brought in the right hander Shane Ennis.
Longhorns Tate Shaw laid down a bunt and reached first from a bad throw from Ennis pulling first baseman Marques Inman off the bag.
With nobody out and the bases loaded, Ennis walked Duke Ellis, bringing in Petrinsky from third base.
Masen Hibbelar grounded to third and Tyler Doanes with great awareness throws the ball home for the force out.
Mazey went back to his bullpen to bring in Alek Monoah.
Kody Clemens fought Monoah off for a single to centerfield scoring two runs, capping off a three-run inning to take a 6-5 lead.
West Virginia wasn’t about to give up another lead to the Longhorns late in the game. With the bases loaded, Longhorns reliever Andy McGuire throws a wild pitch and Kearns was able to take home plate.
Brandon White hit the ball in the gap between first and second and even though first baseman Jake McKenzie made a play on the ball McGuire was unable to match White’s speed, beating the throw to first.
On a missed call by the home plate umpire, Darius Hill was out swinging for strike three and the ball passed catcher DJ Petrinsky scoring Zarbnisky from third. What the umpire didn’t see was that the ball hit Hill which should have been a dead ball and the run counted.
The Mountaineers were up 8-6 in the ninth and the Longhorns were not going to go away quietly.
On back to back little looper hits to left field, Michael McCann came into pinch hit and represented the go ahead run. He hit a slow chopping ground ball to the shortstop Tyler Doanes and beat the throw to first base.
Now with the bases loaded and no outs Texas was looking to put the Mountaineers away again.
Monoah would bear down and strike out the next two batters, then get Hibbeler to fly out to centerfield. “With the game on the line like that, you want the ball in the hands of the guy that lives for a moment like that and that’s Alek Monoah.” Said Mazey
This was a great bounce back game after blowing a three-run lead going into the seventh inning on Friday night. “That loss last night was the biggest punch in the gut we’ve taken all season” Said Mazey.
“That was a character game, you find out what your team is made of after a game like last night. I told them, they punched you in the gut last night you gotta punch them right back and now both of us have sore guts going into tomorrow. Somebodies gotta kick somebody now cause the series is on the line.”
The series is on the line Sunday afternoon at 1:00 pm est inside Monongalia County Ball Park.