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West Virginia takes opening game from Texas Tech

Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst
Photo Credit: Kelsie VanderWijst

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.

 A pair of two-out singles from Davis and Fox scored Guerrini and junior center fielder KC Huth to give West Virginia a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the second.
The Mountaineers extended the lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the third. With runners on second and third, Guerrini reached on an error, scoring senior shortstop Taylor Munden. Huth drove home second baseman Shaun Corso with an infield single down the third base line. Davis knocked in Guerrini with his third hit of the game.
Sophomore outfielder Stephen Smith cut Texas Tech’s deficit to 6-2 in the top of the fourth when he scored on a wild pitch after a leadoff triple.
It was Smith again in the sixth who would cause trouble for Donato. He led off the inning with his 10th home run of the season over the left field fence. Tyler Neslony then tripled off the left center wall and scored on Gutierrez’s RBI ground out to second base, cutting West Virginia’s lead to 6-4.
Ryan Moseley (4-6) picked up the loss for the Red Raiders. He gave up six runs, three earned, on six hits in 2.2 innings.
 Smith, Neslony and Cory Raley had two hits apiece for Texas Tech.
West Virginia and Texas Tech will face off on Friday at 6 p.m. in game two of the series.
Shanna Rose
WVU Graduate with a bachelor's in journalism and multimedia journalist. Sports Fan and sports writer. Former WVU News reporter. Contact Shanna on Twitter @SMR1837
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