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WVU Baseball Collapses 12-6 in Opening Game of NCAA Regional



WVU Baseball Landon Wallace

WVU Baseball fell to the Indiana Hoosiers 12-6 on Friday night, moving to the brink of elimination as they lost their sixth game in a row.

West Virginia starter Blaine Traxel made it through  5.1 innings despite struggling with control. He gave up three runs (while two errors aided another three Indiana runs). West Virginia’s offense, meanwhile, struggled to find a decisive hit once again. Indiana put the Mountaineers away with a five-run ninth inning, quashing any hope of a comeback. 

West Virginia took a 1-0 lead in the first on an opposite-field homer from left fielder Landon Wallace.

Costly Errors

Indiana loaded the bases in the second with two walks and an error on a fielder’s choice. Traxel worked two strikeouts, nearly escaping the inning, but a single gave the Hoosiers a 2-1 lead.

Indiana’s leadoff runner reached on a double in the third, moving up on a sacrifice fly before reaching home on a wild pitch.

The Mountaineers drew even in the bottom of the frame, loading the bases with a single and two hit batters. Wallace drew a bases loaded walk, and right fielder Caleb McNeely hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-3.

Center fielder Braden Barry began the fourth with a triple. Designated hitter Logan Sauve drew a walk as Indiana pitched around him to face shortstop Tevin Tucker. Sauve baited a throw to second on a steal attempt, allowing Barry to steal home—and a 4-3 lead.

Indiana hit back to back singles to begin the fifth. Traxel committed a throwing error on a bunt attempt that let the Hoosiers tie the game, while a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch stretched the deficit to 6-4.

Missed Chances 

Catcher Dayne Leonard singled with two outs in the sixth. Sauve doubled down the right field line to make it 6-5, moving to third on the throw, but the Mountaineers couldn’t plate him to tie the game.

Second baseman JJ Wetherholt doubled to begin the seventh, but again the Mountaineers stranded him there.

Indiana led off the eighth with a double. Two productive outs made it 7-5.

True freshman Ellis Garcia drew a pinch-hit walk in the bottom of the inning. Leonard doubled to put two runners in scoring position, and Garcia scored on a groundout to pull the Mountaineers within a run. Tucker nearly executed a perfect bunt to advance Leonard and bring up Wetherholt, but it rolled foul. A strikeout ended the inning, sending West Virginia to their last chance.

Door Slammed Shut

The Hoosiers chased reliever David Hagaman from the game after two one-out walks. Closer Carlson Reed allowed the runners to advance with a groundout, needing just one more out to escape the inning. Instead, a triple that McNeely misplayed made it 9-6. A single and a home run increased the deficit to 12-6 as the Hoosiers blew the game wide open. 

The Mountaineers looked shaken in the dugout as the game crumbled out of reach, and they went quietly, 1-2-3 in the bottom of the ninth.

WVU baseball now has less than 14 hours to turn the page on their devastating loss, as they face Ball State at 12 pm tomorrow with the season on the line.

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