Big East

WVU Falls in Extra Innings in Championship Game

May 29, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY – The West Virginia University baseball team’s valiant effort in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship final fell short, as the Mountaineers dropped an 11-10 contest to TCU in 10 innings at the Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark on Sunday afternoon.

The Mountaineers (36-22) fell behind 8-0 after two and a half innings, but stormed back with six consecutive runs and eventually took a 10-9 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. The one-run advantage stood until the ninth inning, when the Horned Frogs (42-15) tied the game before a go-ahead home run in the 10th. WVU competed in its first ever Big 12 Championship Game and first conference title game since 1996.

The loss closed a tremendous Mountaineer run in the championship. WVU won the first three games in the tournament and entered Sunday’s game with a 17-3 record in its last 20 contests. Since West Virginia’s impressive stretch began on April 24, the team’s rating percentage index (RPI) soared 59 spots to No. 60. Since April 24, WVU’s RPI is No. 7 in the country.

“This is a team that hasn’t given up,” said WVU coach Randy Mazey. “As a coach you say that all the time. You encourage them to never give up. To have a team that actually never gives up, that’s a fun team to coach. I’d hate to stop coaching these guys. I’d hate for the season to end just on the sole reason I love being around them. It’s a great character group, a great chemistry group. They’re a bunch of great baseball players. They’re fun to be around. I would hate for it to stop now.”

Complimenting WVU’s run to today’s championship game, a program-best four Mountaineers garnered Big 12 All-Tournament Team Honors: senior outfielder KC Huth, sophomore designated hitter Kyle Davis, sophomore starting pitcher Conner Dotson and senior reliever Ross Vance. WVU had garnered only one Big 12 All-Tournament Team accolade in the previous three seasons combined.
Davis, Darius Hill and Jimmy Galusky each had three hits in Sunday’s championship game. Davis went 3-of-6 with two runs and three RBIs. His 14 RBIs set a Big 12 Championship record, surpassing the previous best of 13 by Nebraska’s Dan Johnson in 2001.
TCU jumped out to an 8-0 lead, with five runs in the first inning, two in the second and one in the third. The Mountaineers answered back though, and chipped away with three runs in the third. With one out, Galusky got things going with a bunt single. He advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Davis double to right center. Hill followed with a single to plate Davis. After a fielding error, junior first baseman Jackson Cramer took advantage and singled to score Hill.

After Vance threw a scoreless top of the fourth inning, WVU added three runs in the bottom of the inning to cut the deficit to just two at 8-6. Again it began with one out, as WVU loaded the bases with three singles. Hill cleared the bases with a triple over the head of the TCU right fielder.

In the fifth inning with TCU holding a 9-6 advantage, Galusky doubled to scored Huth and Cramer. On the next play, Davis registered his record-breaking two RBI double down the left field line to bring home Galusky and Kyle Gray to give WVU the 10-9 edge.

A total of 19 runs scored in the first five innings, but both team’s pitching staff’s threw scoreless frames in the sixth, seventh and eighth. TCU tied the game in the ninth inning on back-to-back singles and a sacrifice fly. In the 10th inning, it was a home run by Luken Baker, the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, which put the Horned Frogs ahead.

Freshman right-hander Michael Grove started the game for the Mountaineers surrendering five runs on four hits in a third of an inning pitched. For the second time this week, Vance stepped in in relief. He pitched a solid 6.1 innings, recording a WVU Big 12 record 12 strikeouts and allowing four runs, three earned, on 10 hits.
Sophomore righty BJ Myers came on in the seventh with the bases loaded to strike out TCU’s Cam Warner to leave the Horned Frogs empty handed. Myers tossed 1.1 innings with just a hit allowed.
Blake Smith (5-2) suffered the loss after giving up two runs on three hits in two innings pitched.
NOTES: WVU falls to 36-22, 6-6 all-time at the Big 12 Championship and 3-1 at this year’s tournament … WVU’s 36 wins is the most in a single season in coach Randy Mazey’s four years and the most since WVU won 37 in 2009 … The Mountaineers were playing in the Big 12 Championship Game for the first time in program history and in a conference tournament championship game for the 11th time in team history and first since 1996 … Four Mountaineers were named to the All-Tournament Team: senior outfielder KC Huth, sophomore designated hitter Kyle Davis, sophomore starting pitcher Conner Dotson and senior reliever Ross Vance … The four Big 12 All-Tournament Team honors is the most in program history … West Virginia has won 17 of its last 21 games … Senior Ross Vance struck out 12 batters, a team record in a Big 12 Championship contest … In the four games at this year’s Championship, sophomore Kyle Davis has 14 RBIs, breaking the record of 13 set by Nebraska’s Dan Johnson in 2001.

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