GRANVILLE, W.Va.–The West Virginia Mountaineers inched one step closer to the post season with a 6-4 victory over Texas Tech in Thursday’s series opener at Monongalia County Ballpark.
West Virginia scored six runs in the first three innings and sophomore Chad Donato and freshman Conner Dotson combined to shut down the Red Raiders’ offense.
“I talked to the team at practice yesterday and said, ‘Let’s do what Coach (Bob) Huggins does, change your entire approach.’ He did it for the whole season with his up-tempo in your face pressure defense and stuck with it,” coach Randy Mazey said. “I didn’t tell them that’s what we were going to do, I asked them if they wanted to play that way this weekend and the seniors said, ‘Heck yeah, let’s do it.’ It’s a lot of fun to play that way and we haven’t been standing there outslugging people the last 10 games, so we figured lets do that and change the way this guy pitches.”
West Virginia improved to 26-24 and 8-12 in Big 12 action and needs one win to clinch a spot in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship next week. Tech Tech fell to 29-21 overall and 12-10 in Big 12 play.
Freshman designated hitter Kyle Davis had three hits and two RBIs. Senior third baseman Justin Fox had two hits and sophomore catcher Ray Guerrini scored two runs.
Donato (7-5) pitched seven innings, allowing four runs on seven hits while striking out eight and walking two. Dotson picked up his first save in two innings of one-hit shutout relief.
The Mountaineers took a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Davis singled to left field, stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Sophomore first baseman Jackson Cramer’s sacrifice fly to right field scored Davis.
Texas Tech answered in the top of the second when Eric Gutierrez hit his third home run of the season over the left field fence.