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WVU Baseball Welcomes BYU to Big 12 with 10-4 Win



WVU Baseball infielder Ellis Garcia rounds second base after his homer scored 3-runs Saturday night against TCU. WVSN photo/Kelsie LeRose

WVU Baseball won their Big 12 opener at the newly-minted Kendrick Family Ballpark on Thursday, defeating the BYU Cougars 10-4 behind a grinding offensive approach.

Mountaineers starter Aidan Major went eight innings on 119 pitches, striking out eight batters and keeping the bullpen fresh for later in the series despite allowing four runs across his last two innings of work. West Virginia’s offense struggled to capitalize on early chances, but they eventually blew the game open with a fifth inning rally.

Skylar King and Sam White singled with one out in the bottom of the first. Ben Lumsden grounded out to Cougars’ first baseman Cooper Vest, who stepped on first base before throwing to shortstop Brock Watkins for a tag play to end the inning. Because the final out came via a tag rather than a force play, the Mountaineers took a 1-0 lead.

West Virginia’s Offense Heats Up

The Mountaineers loaded the bases in the fifth inning, then White laced a single to center field after falling behind in the count 0-2 to knock in a pair of runs. Lumsden drew a walk to re-load the bases, then an Ellis Garcia single increased the lead to 4-0, chasing Cougars’ starter Ben Hanson from the game. Kyle West swung on the first pitch reliever Mason Olson offered, resulting in another two-run single.

Major allowed a one-out double in the sixth, but managed to keep the Cougars off the board with a fly out and a strikeout. Vest homered to lead off the seventh, the first run Major allowed in 13 innings pitched. The Cougars rallied for two singles and a hit by pitch to load the bases against Major, but he prevented them from plating any more runs.

Garcia hit his first home run of the season in the bottom of the inning, then the Mountaineers continued to grind out two more insurance runs thanks to a Spencer Barnett single and a Cougars error.

Major allowed a triple and a pair of two-out home runs in the eighth, then Garcia manufactured a run off a wild pitch in the bottom of the inning.

WVU Baseball improves to 8-6 on the season (1-0 Big 12). Their series with the Cougars continues at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 8, with right-hander David Hagaman set to take the mound.

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