No. 19 Mountaineers drop Series to TCU
The No. 19 West Virginia Mountaineers (27-17, 10-10) offensive woes continued in a 6-1 loss to the Texas Christian Horned Frogs (26-19, 8-9) Saturday afternoon. WVU came into the game hitting .249 during Big 12 play, ranking them sixth. That jumped up from .244 after 15 hits Friday night.
Despite their second highest hitting total of the season in game one, the Mountaineers fell 14-5. WVU hasn’t had the offensive output most expected coming into the season, but it’s been timely hitting, most notably late in games, that have put the Mountaineers in the top 20 across college baseball rankings.
TCU came into the series batting .280 during Big 12 play, ranking them third in the conference, and it was on display again as lead-off hitter Josh Watson started the game with a deep line-drive that cleared the left field wall to put the Horned Frogs up 1-0.
The Horned Frogs tacked on two more in the third when Watson led off with a single and Austin Henry hit a one-out single back up to the middle to set up Alek Isola for a two RBI double with two outs. WVU got out of the inning when Andrew Keefer lined a base hit into centerfield and Brandon White gunned down Isola at the plate.
In the following inning, WVU starting pitcher Jackson Wolfe walked Adam Oviedo, then Zach Humphrey’s ripped a hard ground ball down the third base line for an RBI double. That ended the day for Wolfe pitching three and a third giving up five runs on seven hits.
Dillon Meadows took the mound and Watson got to him early, poking a base hit into centerfield as Humphrey’s advanced to third. Jake Guenther caps off a two-run inning with a sacrifice ground ball to second base.
Johnny Rizer and Alex Isola started the fifth with back-to-back doubles to extend the Horned Frogs lead 6-0.
Ivan Gonzalez provided a bit of a spark in the seventh reaching on an errant throw from shortstop Adam Oviedo. Kevin Brophy ripped a hard ground ball down the first base line that moved Gonzalez over to third, then Tristan Hudson hit a sacrifice grounder to third giving the Mountaineers their only run.
“Over the course of a long season, if you play 60 games, you’re going to experience a ton of different things.” Stated West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey after the game. “You’re going to experience having opportunities to sweep people. Having opportunities to get swept. Splitting the first two games, trying to win the rubber game. There’s going to be times during a long season where you’re pitching really well and not hitting. Hitting really well and not pitching. We’re in one of those positions right now that we have an opportunity to get swept and we’re not hitting and we’re not pitching. The beauty all the stuff you go through over the course of a season is, none of it ever lasts that long, so its just a matter of time that we come out if it. Hopefully its tomorrow.”
The offense may have been down, but the pitching has kept the Mountaineers in games. Late heroics by the likes of Marques Inman and as of late TJ Lake has kept WVU in the win column. It’s become their identity through the portion of the Big 12 schedule and good enough to win five straight series, the first time since 2003.
Mazey doesn’t seemed phased by the series loss. He believes his team will bounce back.
“I’m not worried about our team at all, we’re resilient.” Said Mazey. “We’ve been punched in the gut twice here in the first two days but Kade Strowd will pitch tomorrow. He’s been playing with the house’s money his last three times out. He’s pitched with the opportunity to sweep the other team now he’s pitching with an opportunity to get swept, the last two time he’s pitched in that situation, at Oregon State, he shut them out and at Baylor he really pitched well. I got all the faith in the world and give us a good chance to win tomorrow.”
West Virginia will look to avoid the series sweep and get back above .500 in conference play at 1:00 pm est inside Monongalia County Ballpark.
|Team Batting Totals||32||1||4||1||1||0||0||1||8||0||0||0||5||0||0||27||9||1||—|