Article Credit- WVU Athletics: Charlie Healy
NEW ORLEANS – The West Virginia University baseball team rallied to erase a 7-0 deficit and tie the game at 8-8 in the ninth inning, but it was not enough in a 9-8 loss at Tulane on Friday night. The loss snapped WVU’s six-game winning streak.
In the opening game of a three-game series in New Orleans, the Mountaineers (6-3) fell behind 7-0 in the fifth inning but rallied with a five-run sixth and runs in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings to tie the game at 8-8.
An NCAA Tournament team a year ago, the Green Wave (2-7) won it on a bases-loaded single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.
WVU scored eight runs on 11 hits with one error, while TU scored nine runs on 11 hits and did not commit an error. The Mountaineers stranded 12 runners on base while Tulane left six.
Junior left fielder Kyle Davis led the Mountaineers with a career-high four hits, three RBIs and a run scored. Sophomore shortstop Jimmy Galusky added a hit, two RBIs and a run scored, while sophomore second baseman Kyle Gray drew three walks, two with the bases loaded to bring in a run.
Tulane jumped out to an early lead with two runs in both the first and second innings off of junior right-hander BJ Myers.
After a caught-stealing ended the top of the first, the Green Wave answered with two unearned runs in the bottom half. A walk was followed by a fielding error to put two runners on with no outs. A single scored one before a two-out single scored the second and gave Tulane a 2-0 lead.
Back-to-back singles opened the bottom of the second. A fielder’s choice scored one before Myers was called for a balk with two outs and runners on the corners to score the second.
Tulane took a 4-0 lead into the third inning, but Myers settled down and retired seven in a row, including the Green Wave in order in the third and fourth.
Meanwhile, the Mountaineers loaded the bases in the fourth inning, on a walk and back-to-back singles, but a strikeout and a groundout ended the scoring threat.
West Virginia again had runners reach base in the fifth, with a walk and single with two outs, but WVU was kept off the scoreboard.
In the bottom half of the fifth inning, a three-run home run by Tulane’s Jarret DeHart made it a 7-0 ballgame. That was Myers’ final inning, and he allowed seven runs, five earned, on eight hits in 5.0 innings. He struck out five and walked two.
The Mountaineers started their rally when the bats broke through with five runs on five hits in the sixth inning, which cut the deficit to 7-5. Two singles and a walk loaded the bases, and with two outs, Galusky singled to the shortstop to bring in WVU’s first run. Gray followed with a walk to bring in the second run before Davis’ bases-clearing double scored three more.
Freshman right-hander Sam Kessler took the mound in the bottom of the sixth inning and faced the minimum to keep it a 7-5 game. West Virginia then chipped away with another run in the top of the seventh. With the bases loaded and one out, Galusky walked to bring home WVU’s sixth run. However, Gray followed with a hard-hit line drive that Tulane turned into a double play.
The Green Wave got a run back in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to a leadoff home run by Lex Kaplan, but senior right-hander Jackson Sigman came in and got the next three outs.
The Mountaineers answered right back with a run of their own in the top of the eighth, and again made it a one-run game at 8-7. Davis led off the inning with a double, reached third on a groundout and scored on another groundout.
Sigman then followed with a 1-2-3 bottom half of the eighth.
Needing a run to tie it in the ninth, sophomore designated hitter Braden Zarbnisky led off the inning with a single. He stole second and advanced to third on a groundout. Freshman center fielder TJ Lake and Galusky both walked to load the bases with one out for Gray. Down in the count 0-2, Gray drew his second bases-loaded walk of the game to bring home Zarbnisky to tie the game at 8-8.
The Green Wave won it in the bottom of the ninth on a bases-loaded single with two outs.
The series continues on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET, while Sunday’s finale at Greer Field at Turchin Stadium is at 2 p.m.
Cover Photo Credit: WVUSports.com