TULSA, Okla–A four run eighth inning powers the Oklahoma Sooners past the West Virginia Mountaineers 6-1 on Thursday afternoon in the 2015 Phillips 66 Big 12 Conference Baseball Championship at ONEOK Field.
The Sooners broke the game open on a bases-clearing double by Sheldon Neuse.
Joshua Ake started the inning with a walk. Singles by Kolbey Carpenter and Anthony Hermelyn loaded the bases with one out for Neuse. A fly ball over the center fielder cleared the bases and gave Oklahoma a 5-1 lead.
Then starting pitcher Robert Tasin helped his cause and put the Sooners in front 6-1.
Both West Virginia (27-27) and Oklahoma entered the game with an ultimatum: win or go home.
“I was really proud of our guys for the effort they gave to make it down here. We had to win three of our last four games and I really wanted to play in this tournament to get our younger guys experience,” coach Randy Mazey said. “We had so many question marks going into the season. We returned less innings pitched than any team in the United States. For us to grind out what we did during the season was impressive.”
“I am really proud of our guys and I think they overachieved, especially the young players that have never played college baseball before. It is great that they got to do this and I think it will help us in the future.”
Junior left-hander Ross Vance (7-5) took the loss in 7.2 innings, surrendering six runs on 10 hits with six strikeouts. Sophomore catcher Ray Guerrini had two hits, including one double and one run to lead West Virginia.
Tasin (9-2) gave up one run on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks in seven innings. Hermelyn went 3-for-5 for the Sooners and Neuse drove in four runs with one hit.
Vance and Tasin dueled for the first seven innings, both giving their team a chance to win.
Oklahoma took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first with a two-out double to left center field by Hermleyn to score Carpenter.
The Mountaineers scored their first run in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game when sophomore first baseman Jackson Cramer hit a two-out RBI single to center field.
The Sooners regained the lead at 2-1 in the top of the sixth on a sacrifice fly to center field by Neuse that scored Carpenter.
West Virginia’s season is over, and Oklahoma will battle the loser of tonight’s Kansas State-Oklahoma State matchup tomorrow at 7 p.m.