OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.— Alek Manoah outdueled Caleb Kilian as No. 4-seeded West Virginia beats top-seeded Texas Tech 5-1 on Thursday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.
The Mountaineers (36-19) advance to the semifinals with the win.
WVU scored five runs on eight hits. The Red Raiders (37-16) scored one run on four hits.
Despite not having his best stuff early on, Manoah (9-3) dug in and worked through it. The right hander tossed eight innings, giving up one run on four hits. He fanned 10 batters.
Kilian (8-3) pitched seven innings. He surrendered two runs on two hits with one walk. The right-hander struck out nine.
“We kind of knew going into it, with AK (Manoah) versus (Texas Tech starting pitcher Caleb) Killian, that it was going to be a game just like that,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “The over-under was going to be really low on that game, and it held true to form. Both of those guys are really, really good. Killian’s been really good his whole career here. He’s really hard to hit, and when we scored in (the fourth inning), I heard (senior outfielder) Darius Hill yell out of the dugout, ‘It’s taken us three years, but we’ve finally scored off this guy.’ He’s that good, but our guys are grinders. AK is just an unbelievable grinder. He throws to Pudge (senior catcher Ivan Gonzalez) all the time, he’s an unbelievable grinder. It’s just the make-up and the chemistry of our team, and you guys are seeing it, the kind of kids we have.
“The catches (junior center fielder) Brandon White makes in center field are ridiculous. He’s been doing it for three years, he’s a human highlight film. Aside from that, it changed the game. He took a run off the board with the one he made over his head, and the one in front of him, if he doesn’t make that catch, that’s (Texas Tech right fielder) Gabe Holt you’re putting on the bases. That guy changes the game on the bases. So, I couldn’t be prouder of not just these two guys (Manoah and White) but everybody.”
Texas Tech took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third. Manoah hit Gabe Holt, who later advanced to third on Dylan Neuse’s double. Brian Klein’s sacrifice fly plated Holt.
However, WVU answered in the fourth. Brandon White reached after being hit by a pitch and scored on Darius Hill’s triple. Then Marques Inman’s sacrifice fly to deep center field scored Hill and gave the Mountaineers a 2-1 advantage.
In the bottom half of the frame, Manoah hit the leadoff batter, Cameron Warren. With one out, Kurt Wilson singled to right field. Then Manoah struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
With two outs and a runner on third in the bottom of the sixth, White saved the game with a diving catch in right center on a ball blasted by Wilson.
WVU added two insurance runs in the eighth when Tevin Tucker hit a fly ball to right field, scoring Kevin Brophy from third. Next, Tyler Doanes singled and White followed with a base hit that scored TJ Lake from third, making it a 4-1 contest.
In the ninth, Ivan Gonzalez’s opposite field double gave the Mountaineers a 5-1 lead.
Sam Kessler pitched a scoreless ninth.
WVU will receive a bye on Friday and won’t play until Saturday against the winner of the Kansas/ Texas Tech game at 10 a.m. (ET).
After Thursday’s win, the Mountaineers’ RPI jumped from 14 to 11.
Cover Photo Credit: Jeff Ruff, BGS