OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.-Despite Kansas scoring six unanswered runs in the fourth and fifth, No. 4-seeded West Virginia fends off the fifth-seeded Jayhawks 12-8 in the opening round of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark on Wednesday morning.
The Mountaineers (35-18) scored 12 runs on 17 hits. Kansas (31-25) scored eight runs on 11 hits.
Starter Nick Snyder started out hot but struggled in the fourth in the fifth inning. He went just 4.2 innings and gave up seven runs on seven hits while walking five.
Gabe Kurtzhals (2-0) earned the win for WVU. Paul McIntosh and Brandon White each drove in four runs.
Nolan Metcalf had three hits and one RBI for the Jayhawks.
Kansas struck first in the top of the first. With one out, Snyder hit James Cosentino with a pitch. He later scored on Brett Vosvick’s groundout.
However, the lead didn’t last long. Tyler Doanes led off the bottom half with a double and scored on White’s base hit to right field. Then McIntosh’s bases-clearing triple put the Mountaineers ahead 4-1. Ivan Gonzalez singled home McIntosh to push the lead to 5-1.
Snyder tossed a 1-2-3 second and WVU tacked on three runs in the bottom half of the frame. Ryan Ralston issued back-to-back walks to White and Darius Hill. Then Marques Inman’s double into the left field gap allowed both White and Hill to score. Inman scored on Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly to make it 8-1.
In the third, the Mountaineers added another run on White’s RBI-groundout.
The Jayhawks cut the deficit to 9-3 in the fourth. Metcalf doubled to begin the inning and scored on Benjamin Sems’ single up the middle. Then Jack Wagner’s double down the left field line plated Sems.
But the wheels fell off for Snyder in the fifth. With two outs, he issued four straight hits and Kansas pulled within 9-7.
In the sixth, McIntosh’s sacrifice fly gave WVU an insurance run. The Jayhawks refused to go away and got that run back in the seventh when Dylan Ditzenberger’s sacrifice fly scored Casey Burnham to make it a 10-8 game.
After the stretch, Tevin Tucker and Doanes reached on back-to-back base hits. Doanes stole second and both runners scored when White dropped the suicide squeeze down the first base line to push the Mountaineers’ lead to 12-8.
Dillion Meadows pitched a 1-2-3 ninth to close out the game.
WVU faces the winner of the No. 1 Texas Tech and No. 8 Kansas State game on Thursday at 5 p.m. (ET).
Cover Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS