MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– Behind an offensive surge, the West Virginia University baseball team defeated Texas 14-7 on Saturday afternoon at Monongalia County Ballpark.
“It was a great day and a great crowd,” head coach Randy Mazey said. “When we joined the Big 12, you really didn’t know what to expect. Since we’ve joined this league, we’ve shown that we’re right there as good as anybody. As this program matures, this is going to happen a lot more often. We’re excited about where we are right now, but we need to go get that one tomorrow, it’s the biggest game of the year right now.”
The Mountaineers (26-19) scored 14 runs on 13 hits. Starting pitcher Ross Vance lasted only 4.2 innings. The senior lefty gave up six runs on six hits. He walked four.
Freshman Braden Zarbnisky earned his third win of the season. He pitched 3.1 innings, surrendering one run on one hit.
Sophomore Kyle Davis went 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI for WVU. Freshman Kyle Gray went 3-for-3 with two RBI.
Kody Clemens went 2-for-5 with three RBI and two doubles for the Longhorns (21-26).
Freshman Ivan Vera doubled to the left center gap, scoring Davis to give the Mountaineers a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
With two outs in the bottom of the second, Davis’ RBI single gave the Mountaineers a 2-0 lead, scoring Gray from third. Freshman Darius Hill drove in two more when he doubled down the left field line but WVU wasn’t done yet. Vera’s base hit to left field scored Hill and gave the Mountaineers a 5-0 edge.
“To come out and score five in the first two innings (was big), we’ve been trying to get into their bullpen and I think that set the tone for how the rest of the day was going to go coming out and swinging pretty good early,” Mazey said.
But Texas slowly chipped away at WVU’s lead in the third and fourth innings.
Travis Jones led off the third with a triple to center field. Joe Baker’s sacrifice fly to center field scored Jones. Tres Barrera’s solo shot down the left field line cut the Longhorns’ deficit to 5-2.
Texas added two more runs in the fourth inning, pulling within 5-4.
WVU got one run back in the bottom half of the inning.With two outs, Hill got caught in a rundown trying to steal second but the right fielder stayed in it long enough for Gray to score from third.
The Longhorns tied the game 6-6 in the fifth. Ko. Clemens’ two-out double drove in two runs and ended Vance’s afternoon.
With the bases loaded and two outs, Gray singled through the left put the Mountaineers back in front 8-6 in the bottom half of the inning.
Texas responded in the sixth when Clemens hit an RBI double to left field.
Junior catcher Ray Guerrini got in on the scoring in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single. Freshman Marques Inman added three insurance runs when he hit his first career home run to give WVU a 12-7 lead.
In the seventh, Davis got in on the scoring frenzy with a solo shot to left center before adding one more in the eighth.
With the win, the Mountaineers guaranteed a series win and will remain in fourth place in the Big 12 through the weekend.
The series concludes on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. (ET).