On Friday night, West Virginia defeated the Baylor Bears by a score of 7-6 in walk-off fashion.
The Mountaineers rallied back and overcame a two-run deficit in the final innings to secure game one of a three-game series with Baylor.
The first inning of play was wild, as just about everything happened. Baylor starting pitcher Tyler Thomas struggled with command early, as he hit Austin Davis and allowed two wild pitches.
There was a rain delay before the first inning ended, and after the game resumed, WVU missed an opportunity to take an early lead. Grant Hussey seemed to have a sure RBI sacrifice fly that would have scored Austin Davis, but Davis did not touch home plate. Baylor let the umpires know, and Davis was out.
In the top of the second inning, Baylor loaded the bases after three consecutive walks from WVU starting pitcher Jacob Watters. Watters got out of the bases loaded, no out jam with a strikeout and a double play that excited the Mountaineer crowd.
WVU broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the second inning, as McGwire Holbrook got the inning started with a double. Braden Barry bunted for a single to put runners on first and third, and Mikey Kluska brought them home with a two-RBI double down the first base line.
The Mountaineers added to their lead in the second inning when Austin Davis reached on an infield single. The throw from shortstop got away and Kluska came around to score to make it 3-0.
Baylor got back into the game in the top of the third by getting to Watters with zero outs. With two runners on, Jared McKenzie singled to make it a 3-1 game. After the McKenzie single, the Bears tied the game with a two-RBI single by Kyle Nevin.
Baylor would go on to take the lead in the top of the fourth inning. The Bears started the inning with two singles, and Jack Pineda drove in a run with a double down the left field line to give Baylor a 4-3 lead. The Bears extended their lead to 5-3 on a WVU throwing error.
WVU had an answer in the bottom of the fourth when McGwire Holbrook belted a home run over the left center field wall.
In the top of the sixth inning, Baylor added to its lead with a two-out RBI single by Casen Neumann to make it 6-4.
Not much offensive action ensued for a couple innings, but a bright spot for WVU was reliever Noah Short. Against eight batters, Short came in and struck out six of them.
Short worked well with his sidearm delivery, and it seemed to have the Baylor batters off balance.
Short spoke on how his motion helps him attack right-handed batters.
“It’s harder to see come out of that slot, so with a fastball that kind of sinks in, it’s definitely harder to barrel up,” Short said.
The Mountaineer offensive finally came alive in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Austin Davis started the inning with a single up the middle and was brought home on a JJ Wetherholt double to make it a 6-5 game. The Mountaineers loaded the bases with nobody out after a hit by pitch and a Baylor error.
WVU tied the game at 6-6 when Braden Barry took a walk with the bases loaded. After the walk, the Bears were able to avoid more trouble, getting Dayne Leonard to ground out into an inning-ending double play.
In the ninth, WVU was able to hold the Bears to no runs after Baylor put a runner on second base with one out.
In the bottom of the ninth, WVU put pressure on the Bears with a Mikey Kluska single to start the inning. The Mountaineers loaded the bases with one out, and after a strikeout, Nathan Blasick came up to bat with the game on the line.
Blasick worked the count to three balls and two strikes, and on the payoff pitch, Blasick took a ball outside and sealed the 7-6 walk-off win.
Blasick spoke on what goes through his head in big at-bats.
“Especially in big spots, I try to kind of dumb everything down, look at kind of just a pitch you can hit, especially late in games and facing big time relievers,” Blasick said.
The Mountaineers improve to 18-10 on the season and will be back in action against Baylor on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.