No. 18 WVU Fights off Kansas rally to Advance
Oklahoma City, OK – The No. 18 and fourth seeded West Virginia Mountaineers (35-18) advance in the winner’s bracket of the Big 12 Tournament with a first-round win over the fifth seeded Kansas Jayhawks (31-25) 12-8 Wednesday morning inside Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The Mountaineers started off hot scoring nine runs in the first three innings, but midway through the game, Kansas answered with six runs in two innings to get within a couple runs.
West Virginia midweek starting pitcher Nick Snyder kept to his routine and opened the conference tournament for the Mountaineers. He would struggle to start the game falling behind on counts on two occasions that subsequently lead to hitting a batter and a single before an RBI sacrifice ground ball allowed Kansas to take a 1-0 lead.
Tyler Doanes opened the bottom of the first inning with a double prior to taking third on a passed ball and Brandon White would single into rightfield to bring in Doanes to tie the game.
Darius Hill singled back up the middle and Marques Inman worked a walk to load the bases. Then on a 1-0 pitch, Paul McIntosh hit a deep ball into right-center, that cleared the bases, and he slid safely into third headfirst for the three RBI triple.
Ivan Gonzalez followed it up with an RBI single into left field, that scored McIntosh, capping off a five-run first inning.
Going into the game, it appeared Kansas was going to throw a lot of arms at the Mountaineers, starting a closer in Nathan Berry. After giving up five runs on six hits in the first, Kansas head coach Ritch Price went to his bullpen for Ryan Ralston to start the second.
Ralston started his day walking back-to-back batters before Marques Inman doubled into left-center for a pair of RBI’s. Paul McIntosh hit an infield single and both runners would get into scoring position on a passed, that set up an RBI sac fly for Ivan Gonzalez to put the Mountaineers up 8-1.
The Mountaineers tacked on another run in the third on three consecutive bunts, that was finished off by the RBI sacrifice bunt from Brandon White.
The Jayhawks started to get to Snyder in the fourth when Benjamin Sems doubled and Skyler Messinger singled to give Kansas a run. Rudy Karre drew a two out walk on a full count and Josh Wagner followed it up with a two RBI double down the left field line but tried to stretch it into a triple and was caught at third to end the inning.
In the fifth, Kansas did more damage with two outs after Jaxx Groshans got into scoring position on a one out double. Nolan Metcalf singled to bring in Groshans, then Snyder walked Sems before Messinger had an RBI single into left field. Snyder followed it up walking Casey Burnham and Mazey would go to his bullpen for freshman Gabe Kurtzhals.
Tom Lichty battled on a full count and delivered a two RBI single that dropped into centerfield and just like that, Kansas was within two, 9-7.
Darius Hill added to his career and program leading double total (77) to start the sixth. Inman moved him to third on a deep fly ball to centerfield and Paul McIntosh hit a sac fly ball to center to grow the Mountaineers lead 10-7.
Dylan Ditzenberger answered in the top of the seventh with a sacrifice line-drive to center to keep Kansas in the game.
In the bottom of the inning, Tevin Tucker hit a one-out single, then Tyler Doanes went opposite field to right field for a single and in what should have been a routine advancement to second, Tucker raced around second and safely made it to third.
That gave Brandon White the ability to steal second and Brandon White beautifully laid a bunt down the line that rolled to first base and gave enough time for Tyler Doanes to showcase his speed as he raced home from second to get the rare two RBI sacrifice bunt to extend the WVU lead 12-8
Dillon Meadows closed the game out not allowing a hit as the Mountaineers tie a Big 12 Tournament record with 12 runs on 17 hits.
“Mountaineers Win, that’s what counts at this point. It wasn’t pretty.” Said Mazey. “The game kind of got hairy there in the middle and typical response from our veteran players when they crept back into the game to answered with a couple of big runs. We go up 9-1 and we got our guy on the mound that gives up, on an average, less than two-runs a game, you feel pretty good about it. But that’s why Kansas has won eight of their last 10 in the league, because they fought their way back in it, It’s a dangerous team.”
West Virginia will play Texas Tech in round two at 5:00 pm est.
|Team Batting Totals||36||12||17||12||4||1||0||3||6||0||2||2||7||3||0||27||9||1||—|