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WVU Baseball Survives Comeback Try, Moves to Regional Final

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WVU Baseball players celebrating

WVU Baseball advanced to the Tucson Regional final in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, surviving a ninth-inning comeback attempt from the Grand Canyon Antelopes on the way to a 5-2 victory.

Tyler Switalski did his best Derek Clark impersonation, allowing just one run over 7.2 innings and 101 pitches. Brodie Kresser recorded a pair of hits, bringing home three runs.

JJ Wetherholt didn’t get on base but flashed the leather to make up for it, recording an unassisted double play in the first before gloving a lineout in Jumpman fashion in the seventh. Wetherholt also called game, fielding a bases-loaded ground ball off the first pitch Carson Estridge threw and tossing it to first baseman Grant Hussey to complete the lightning fast save.

The ‘Lopes struck first, tagging Switalski for one run in the second via sacrifice fly. West Virginia struck right back, manufacturing a run through small ball. Reed Chumley roped a first-pitch single through the right side then swiped second base. A Hussey groundout advanced him to the hot corner, then Kresser singled to bring him home.

Switalski faced the minimum through the next five innings, recording two of his three forced double plays on the day, while the Mountaineers’ offense wasn’t anywhere close to finished.

Mountaineers Take Command

Sam White walked and Michael Perazza walked in the fourth, bookending a Chumley hit by pitch to load the bases. Kresser singled in two more runs before a Ben Lumsden infield single—aided by an awkward bounce—and Skylar King fielder’s choice pushed the lead to 5-1.

Hussey made a highlight reel catch in foul territory for the second game in a row, helping Switalski get through the seventh. The junior lefty allowed two singles in the eighth, enough for head coach Randy Mazey to pull him from the game. Hambleton Oliver entered, allowing a towering fly ball to right that fell harmless into Lumsden’s glove at the wall.

Grand Canyon loaded the bases with one out in the ninth, plating a run in the process. Estridge spelled Oliver with two outs, slamming the door with the first pitch he threw.

WVU Baseball will face the winner of Sunday’s elimination game between the Lopes and Dallas Baptist, which will take place at 3 pm EDT. The subsequent matchup will take place at 9 pm Sunday: if the Mountaineers win that game, they’ll punch a ticket to their first ever Super Regional appearance.

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