Sunday, June 25, 2017

No. 4 WVU rallies past No. 1 Texas Tech

Jackson Cramer (13) swings at a pitch during WVU's 12-7 win over Texas Tech on Friday, May 26, 2017. (Photo Credit: Jeff Ruff, BGS)

Jackson Cramer (13) swings at a pitch during WVU’s 12-7 win over Texas Tech on Friday, May 26, 2017.
(Photo Credit: Jeff Ruff, BGS)

OKLAHOMA CITY–Trailing by two in the ninth, fourth-seeded West Virginia University came from behind and defeated No. 1 Texas Tech 12-7 in extra innings at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship.

Darius Hill doubled to begin the ninth and scored on Jackson Cramer’s single. But a fielding error by the Red Raiders’ Ryan Long resulted in Cramer scoring and tying the game at 6-6.

Braden Zarbnisky struck out the side in the bottom half and forced extra innings.

In the 10th, the Mountaineers’ (34-23) bats exploded for six runs on four hits. WVU’s first lead came on an RBI single by Kyle Gray. With the bases loaded Cole Austin drew a walk to extend the lead to 8-6.

Cramer followed with a three-run double and scored on Zarbnisky’s double, pushing the Mountaineers’ lead to 12-6.

Kyle Gray (9) celebrates his triple in the fourth during WVU's 12-7 win over Texas Tech on Friday, May 26, 2017.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Ruff, BGS)

Kyle Gray (9) celebrates his triple in the fourth during WVU’s 12-7 win over Texas Tech on Friday, May 26, 2017.
(Photo Credit: Jeff Ruff, BGS)

Texas Tech (43-15) picked up one run in the bottom half.

“That one is tough to put into words,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “What a grind. Before the game, we talked about this being the toughest game in any conference tournament or regional. The first loser’s bracket game, when you’re coming off a loss, playing a team coming off a win, this is the game where you find out what your team is made of. For us to go out there and do what we did tonight, against that type of competition, you just can’t even put into words how proud I am of this team.
“We got some big hits. (Jackson) Cramer just came up so big at the end of the game. He’s earned it. He deserved it. He’s worked at it. If I had to do it over again, I never would have sent you to the plate on that inside-the-parker. We played great defense. You want to play your best baseball at the end of the season. This three-game stretch (at the Big 12 Championship) is the best that we’ve played this whole year. That’s a testament to our team, and the fact that our slogan going into the season was ‘we’re on a mission’ to make the postseason. Goal number one I think has been achieved, so we’re going to have to re-focus and set another maybe.”
Kyle Gray (9) runs toward first during WVU's 12-7 win over Texas Tech on Friday, May 26, 2017.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Ruff, BGS)

Kyle Gray (9) runs toward first during WVU’s 12-7 win over Texas Tech on Friday, May 26, 2017.
(Photo Credit: Jeff Ruff, BGS)

Gray’s bat continued to stay hot. He had two hits and three RBI. The sophomore now leads Big 12 Championship play with two triples.

Jimmy Galusky and Austin both had three hits and Cramer had two hits and five RBI.

Mountaineers’ starter Alek Manoah went four innings, giving up four earned runs on four hits while walking five and striking out six.

Zarbnisky (6-1) pitched four innings and picked up the win. He surrendered one run on four hits.

Manoah cruised through the first two frames but ran into trouble in the third. A leadoff single and a walk put runners at first and second for Grant Little, who doubled to left field and gave Texas Tech a 2-0 lead.

However, the Mountaineers responded in the fourth. With two outs, back-to-back singles from Galusky and TJ Lake put runners on the corners. Then Gray tripled down the right field line and tied the game at 2-all.

Ivan Gonzalez runs towards first during WVU's 12-7 win over Texas Tech on Friday, May 26, 2017.  (Photo Credit: Jeff Ruff, BGS)

Ivan Gonzalez runs towards first during WVU’s 12-7 win over Texas Tech on Friday, May 26, 2017.
(Photo Credit: Jeff Ruff, BGS)

With two outs, Manoah hit Hunter Hargrove, surrendered a double to Long and walked Orlando Garcia to load the bases. Anthony Lyons drove a pitch back towards the mound that went off Manoah’s glove and rolled up the middle, giving the Red Raiders a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fifth.

In the seventh, WVU pulled within 4-3. With one out, Darius Hill walked and advanced to third on Austin’s double. Then Cramer’s fly ball to center plated Hill.

However, Long’s two-run home run put Texas Tech ahead 6-3 in the bottom half.

Isaiah Kearns’ solo shot in the seventh pulled the Mountaineers within two.

 WVU’s Cramer becomes the 21st player in the Big 12 Tournament to have five RBI in one game.
The Mountaineers square off with No. 8 Oklahoma State on Saturday at 10 a.m. (ET) in a rematch from Thursday.
Cover Photo Credit: Jeff Ruff, BGS

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