The West Virginia University baseball team took game one of their three game series against No. 16 Oklahoma State on Thursday, winning 4-3.
Oklahoma State (16-7-1, 4-3 Big 12) got on the board in the bottom of the first inning with a double down the left field line, to put them up 1-0.
West Virginia (11-9, 3-1 Big 12) responded in the third inning after a throwing error allowed Braden Barry to score to tie the game up at 1-1.
The offense kept rolling in the fourth inning. After a Hudson Byorick single, and then a Vince Ippoliti walk, the Mountaineers had runners on first and second with two outs. Freshman Mikey Kluska came to the plate and continued his dominance, hammering a three run home run to deep left field, putting the Mountaineers ahead 4-1.
West Virginia starting pitcher Jackson Wolf (3-2) was able to settle in after the first inning until he ran into trouble in the seventh inning. After getting a strikeout to start the inning, Wolf then walked the next batter and gave up a single to center field and then an infield single as Brock Mathis hit a dribbler to West Virginia second baseman Tyler Doanes. Doanes tried to flip the ball from his glove to first baseman Byorick, but the flip was high pulling Byorick off of the bag and loading the bases.
Head coach Randy Mazey said, “Jackson pitched really well, and we pitched great out of the bullpen. We’ve always played pretty well down here in Stillwater, and that’s a really good win against a really good team. It’s just really great to be back.”
Mazey then turned to his bullpen to try and close out the last three innings of the game. First in was junior Zach Ottinger. Ottinger gave up back to back singles, scoring two runs, cutting West Virginia’s lead to 4-3.
Mazey went back to his bullpen, this time going with redshirt sophomore Noah Short. Short came in the game to face just one batter, striking out Hueston Morrill to get the second out of the inning.
Mazey then decided to go for another pitching change, bringing in sophomore Jacob Watters with two outs and the bases loaded. Watters was able to get a strikeout, stranding three runners for Oklahoma State and holding a 4-3 lead for the Mountaineers.
Watters stayed in the game, and after getting a double play to end the eighth inning, Mazey stuck with Watters for the ninth inning. Watters got two quick outs, but then gave up a triple as West Virginia right fielder Austin Davis dove for a ball and it got by him rolling to the wall to give Oklahoma State a runner on third with two outs. Watters walked the next batter he faced. With Oklahoma State’s designated hitter Nolan Mclean coming to the plate, Watters was facing one of the best hitters in the Oklahoma State lineup with the game on the line.
After getting ahead 1-2 in the count, Watters blew a fastball by Mclean to secure his second save on the year, but more importantly secure a win for the Mountaineers. Watters finished his outing, pitching 2.1 innings, giving up no runs, and striking out four, while throwing 47 pitches.
Mazey said, “[Watters] pitched with conviction tonight. That’s what he needs to do. He took control of the game and really wanted to end it. When he does that, he’s pretty hard to beat.”
Wolf turned in another quality start, finishing the day throwing 6.1 innings, giving up three runs, on five hits and striking out eight.
The Mountaineers will look to get a series win tomorrow, in the second game of this three game series against Oklahoma State, with first pitch scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Photo by Dale Sparks, WVU