OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.—Two freshman pitchers Ryan Bergert and Zach Ottinger combined for nine innings of one-hit baseball to lift No. 4-seeded West Virginia past top-seeded Texas Tech 2-0 to advance to the Big 12 Championship Game.
Bergert (2-0) made his first collegiate start. The right-hander tossed five scoreless innings. He gave up just one hit and fanned four.
Through the first four innings, Bergert sat down the first 13 batters he faced.
Then Ottinger came on in relief and pitched four no-hit innings, earning his first save.
“It’s obvious when I say this, these two guys (Bergert and Ottinger), what they did tonight, it’s what older kids are supposed to do,” head coach Randy Mazey said. “These are two freshmen one-hitting one of the best offensive teams in the country, if not the best offensive team in the country, and no walks, just attacking hitters all night long. In Berg’s first start of the year to do what he did and then Otter, as we call him, to come in and give us four innings after that and go 3-0 on (Texas Tech outfielder) Gabe Holt to lead off the ninth and to come back and get him out. Words can’t express how proud I am of these guys. You’re getting ready to see some fiery personalities come out of these guys here in just a second. But what they lack in volume when they speak, they make up for it with the way they pitch. They’ve been doing this really all year long. I keep telling these guys, in a tournament situation like this, you never know when you’re going to be needed and they were needed in maybe the biggest game in the history of our program and stepped up and did yeomen’s work.”
Brandon White led the Mountaineers (37-19) with three hits. Cameron Warren had the Red Raiders (39-17) lone hit.
In the second, WVU took a 1-0 lead as Darius Hill’s sacrifice fly scored Tyler Doanes.
Bergert ran into some trouble in the fifth. After getting the first out, he gave up a single to Warren and then hit Cody Masters with a pitch. With two outs, White made a diving catch on a ball drilled by Easton Murrell to get Bergert out of the frame unscathed.
In the sixth, the Mountaineers took a 2-0 lead when Marques Inman grounded into a double play, which allowed White to score from third.
Ottinger relieved Bergert in the sixth and set the cruise control the rest of the game.
In the ninth, the right-hander came back out and fell behind early in the count to Holt but he settled in and got the right fielder to groundout. Then he retired the next two batters.
WVU will face the winner of Oklahoma State and TCU, who play tomorrow at 9 a.m.
Cover Photo Credit: Jeff Ruff, BGS