The West Virginia Mountaineers (22-19, 6-9) took game three and the series against the Texas Longhorns (30-17, 12-6) 8-3.
West Virginia starting pitcher Isaiah Kearns started the game off walking Masen Hibbeler, then Duke Ellis reached first base on a bunt down the third base line.
Kody Clemens advanced both runners with a sacrifice grounder to second base.
Zach Zubia scored Hibbeler on a deep groundball to shortstop Jimmy Galusky but Zubia was safe at first with a throw into the dirt that first baseman Marques Inman couldn’t handle.
Then David Hamilton brought in Ellis on a sacrifice grounder to third starting the game scoring two runs and the Longhorns did it without hitting the ball out of the infield.
Kearns battled but Texas was making plays to start the game “I thought they were pretty good pitches, sometimes that’s how baseball goes. Just bad luck.” Said Kearns.
The Mountaineers put runs on the board in the fourth inning and it started with Darius Hill drawing a walk. Marques Inman hit his second double of the game, putting Hill at third, and then Kyle Gray hit a sacrifice groundball to second advancing Inman and scoring Hill.
Tyler Doanes ripped one into left field to score Inman, then Ivan Gonzalez put the ball into right field for a single and Doanes hustled to third.
Connor Hamilton placed the ball into the gap between short and third to score Doanes capping off a three-run inning for the Mountaineers, taking a 3-2 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Kyle Gray doubled down the right field line and Tyler Doanes moved him over to third with a grounder to short.
Gray crossed home plate on a wild pitch from Texas starting pitcher Blair Henley and the Mountaineers extended their lead 4-2.
With one out in the top of the seventh inning, Tate Shaw and Masen Hibbeler both singled up the middle and that would do it for Mountaineers starting pitcher Isaiah Kearns.
Kearns getting to the seventh inning was exactly what the Mountaineers needed. “We needed that to keep our bullpen fresh. He just kept them off balance all day long. They never really did adjust to his changeup very well and that’s his best pitch.” said West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey.
It was a bit cool on top of the hill at Monongalia County Ball Park and Kearns did what he had to do to keep warm. “He sat in the bathroom between innings on a bucket cause the heaters on in there.” Said Mazey.
Tristen Hudson came in with men on first and second. On the first batter he faced, Duke Ellis single through the right side scoring Shaw and moving Hibbeler over to third.
That’s all the damage Texas could do as Hudson struck out Kody Clemens and got Zach Zubia to ground out to third.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, Darius Hill got the Mountaineers going with a single through the gap into right field and that would be all for Texas middle reliver Josh Sawyer.
Longhorn reliever Matteo Bocchi took the mound and Marques Inman started his day off with a hit over the third baseman’s Ryan Reynolds head moving Gray to third.
Bocchi walked Kyle Gray and the bases were loaded.
Tyler Doanes hit a line drive into left centerfield that rolled to the wall for a triple clearing the bases and the Mountaineers had a four-run advantage. The freshman had to battle at the plate before he connected. “He’s advanced beyond his year’s maturity wise. You get in that mode and you want to swing at everything because you swung at four in a row and fouled them off, then all of a sudden he takes a really good pitch not to swing at.” Said Mazey
Andrew Zitel brought in the final run of the inning perfectly laying a bunt down the first base line bringing in a sliding Doanes as the Longhorns tried to make the play at the plate capping off a four run eighth inning.
Alek Monoah came out to the mound to start the ninth inning after putting away the Longhorns the night before. He got Andy McGuire to ground out to short and struck out the next two out of three batters sealing the 8-3 victory.
The Mountaineers are now 11-7 all-time versus the Longhorns “The kids just get excited to play against Texas, especially Texas kids. I do too.” Said Mazey. “Today was an opportunity to beat one of the best baseball programs in the history of college baseball.”
West Virginia will face Maryland on Tuesday night at 6:30 pm est inside Monongalia County Ball Park.
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