The eighth-seeded Mountaineers earned a 5-1 victory over top seed Texas Wednesday in the Big 12 Baseball Tournament, but West Virginia wasn’t able to sustain that momentum Friday, as it was flattened by Oklahoma State, 12-2, at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.
With its first loss in the double-elimination Big 12 Championship, WVU fell below .500 overall at 25-26. Oklahoma State, which finished the regular season in fourth place in the Big 12 and holds the No. 15 spot in the latest RPI, is now 34-16-1.
The trouble for West Virginia Friday began early. The Mountaineers’ Austin Davis led off the game with a sharp single up the middle and eventually advanced to third but was stranded there. That was a theme for WVU in the game, as it left eight runners on base throughout the contest compared to just five for OSU.
The Cowboys didn’t waste their opportunities. They scored five runs in the bottom of the first, chasing West Virginia’s starting pitcher Carlson Reed after just one-third of an inning of work. Reed was charged with four runs on three hits with a walk during that stretch. His reliever, Jake Carr, was dinged for one run after giving up a pair of hits in the first.
OSU added three more runs off Carr in the bottom of the second when the Cowboys’ Carson McCusker followed up a pair of OK State singles with a blast deep over the right-field wall. His three-run homer spotted the Pokes to an 8-0 lead.
WVU again got a runner on base in the fourth inning when Victor Scott walked with two outs. This time Alec Burns got West Virginia on the board with a homer of his own, allowing the Mountaineers to trim the Oklahoma State advantage to 8-2.
The Cowboys responded in short order, though. With Beau Lowery taking over on the mound for Carr, OSU’s Marcus Brown singled with one out in the fifth. He was chased home by Caeden Trenkle, who tripled. Then a double from Max Hewitt plated Trenkle, pushing OK State’s lead back to eight, 10-2.
West Virginia got runners into scoring position in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, but it couldn’t get any of those home. For the game, WVU batters did work their way for six walks but managed just four hits, and only one of those came with a runner in scoring position.
Meanwhile Oklahoma State pounded out 18 hits, including four of the extra-base variety. Mountaineer pitchers walked only one Cowboy, but with the 10-run rule in effect, OSU needed just two runs in the bottom of the seven to end the contest and seal the victory.
The Pokes got exactly what they needed.
After singles by OSU’s Justin Campbell and Marcus Brown, WVU coach Randy Mazey lifted Lowery in favor of another reliever, Skylar Gonzalez. The West Virginia sophomore got two quick outs but then gave up a pair of singles, each scoring a run and bringing an early end to the Big 12 Tournament game.
With the loss, the Mountaineers immediately turn around and face Texas Friday night in an elimination game.
Oklahoma State gets to sit back and wait until Saturday to play again when it will meet the WVU-UT winner in a 1:30 p.m. (ET) contest at Bricktown. The championship game for the Big 12 title is slated for 6 p.m. Sunday and will be televised on ESPN2.