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West Virginia Baseball Survives 5-4 Against the TCU Horned Frogs



WVU baseball infielder Sam White makes a play.

The WVU baseball team won their second game in a row Friday, defeating the TCU Horned Frogs 5-4.

Mountaineers’ starter Ben Hampton pitched six strong innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out four. West Virginia lived by the long ball, building an early 5-1 lead with a pair of home runs then hanging on for dear life on the way to the nail-biting finish. It was the perfect opportunity for a new celebration, as the Mountaineers debuted a pretzel chain that players donned after hitting a home run. 

Hampton worked a 1-2-3 first inning despite a heart attack at-bat that saw Horned Frogs’ second baseman Tre Richardson push a ball to the top of the wall in center field. Braden Barry then outstretched to make the catch.

Early Lead

Shortstop Tevin Tucker led off the bottom of the first with a walk. Left fielder Landon Wallace blasted a ball 440 feet to left-center to give the Mountaineers a 2-0 lead. 

The Horned Frogs worked a pair of walks in the second. Hampton sailed a pickoff attempt into center field to move the runners over, and catcher Karson Bowen hit a sacrifice fly to cut the Mountaineers’ lead in half. After another walk, Hampton steadied to retire seven straight. 

TCU right fielder Austin Davis, who played at West Virginia for four years before transferring to the Horned Frogs, made an insane catch on a foul out from designated hitter Logan Sauve in the bottom of the frame, flipping over the wall to make the out.

First baseman Grant Hussey singled and Sauve walked in the fourth. Third baseman Sam White homered from the nine-hole to make it 5-1. 

Catcher Dayne Leonard led off the fifth with a double, but a strikeout and two shallow fly balls left him stranded there.

By the Skin of Their Teeth

Richardson singled and first baseman Cole Fontenelle doubled to put two runners in scoring position with one out in the sixth. Davis reached on a fielder’s choice to Hampton, taking second on the play as Hampton threw to third, catching Richardson in a run down.

Designated hitter Kurtis Byrne hit a ball down the right field line that took an awkward bounce, spinning out of the field of play for a ground-rule double that cut the lead to 5-3.

Hampton hit a batter with a pitch and allowed a single to load the bases, but worked a fly out to escape the inning and end his day. 

Junior reliever Carlson Reed entered with two on and one out in the seventh. Reed, a right-hander, displayed catlike reflexes in recording the second out, spinning 180 degrees on his pickoff move to nab the lead runner at second base.

The move preserved the lead: the Horned Frogs then pulled within one with a two-out double from Davis.

Reed went on to earn an eight out save, striking out four.

The WVU baseball team moves to 27-11 on the season (6-4 Big 12). Their series with the Horned Frogs continues at 4pm Saturday.

Postgame Reaction

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