Early Arrival

Early Arrival

West Virginia went 11 years between victories over a top 10 baseball team, but Randy Mazey's team made the second gap considerably shorter. West Virginia came back from a two-run first inning deficit to score six consecutive runs and held on for a 9-6 victory over Oklahoma on Sunday.

The win, the second consecutive one over the Sooners, came at Charleston's Appalachian Power Park in front of 1,843 loud fans.

With the series victory WVU (29-20, 11-7) moved into a tie with Oklahoma at the top of the Big 12 standings with six conference games remaining to be played. Picked to finish last by every Big 12 coach to start the season, Mazey's goal was simply to make the Big 12 tournament. With two conference series to play, against TCU and Oklahoma State, WVU's goals have made a dramatic shift. Now, talk of a regular season crown don't seem out of the question, and WVU will clearly be a team to contend with in the conference tournament.

Things didn't look great out of the gate for the Mountaineers. Starter John Means (4-2) clearly didn't have his best stuff, and left a number of pitches up that the Sooners took advantage of early. Means allowed base hits to the first two batters of the game, and one out later yielded a two-run double to Oklahoma shortstop Jack Mayfield.

Although he continued to allow hits (11 through six innings), Means made good pitches in key situations, and continually stranded runners in scoring positions. OU stranded 13 runners on base in the contest, and left knowing that it missed a number of opportunities to put big numbers on the scoreboard. However, Means battled on every throw, and boosted by big support from Mountaineer bats, got WVU into the seventh inning with a big lead.

The building of that advantage began in the first at-bat, when WVU got a run back in the first. Taylor Munden led off with a four pitch walk, and Brady Wilson then attempted a sacrifice bunt. In a sign of things to come for WVU, as Wilson beat out the throw for a single. Jacob Rice then hit a bloop single to right. Both runners had to hold and after the ball fell, but WVU was left with the bases loaded and nobody out.

Sooner starter Billy Waltrip (2-3) then fired a wild pitch to the screen and Munden raced home for WVU's first run. The Mountaineers wasted a shot at a big inning, though, however, as Ryan Tuntland and Ryan McBroom watched called third strikes and Fleming grounded out to end the inning.

Means struggled again in the second, but after allowing the Sooners to load the bases, retired the nexthree batters to escape unharmed.

West Virginia blew the game open in the bottom of the second. After Waltrip allowed the first three batters to reach base, Munden stroked a sacrifice fly to deep center to tie the game. Two pitches later Jacob Rice singled up the middle to score Wilson and Bobby Boyd to give WVU a 4-2 lead. Two batters later Tuntland smacked a two advantage.

Oklahoma replaced Waltrip with Friday winner Jacob Evans in the third inning, and both pitchers settled down. Four scoreless inning followed for OU, but WVU broke the string when McBroom blasted a two-out two-run home run to extend WVU's lead to 8-2.

Those runs ended up being very important, as OU, befitting a top ten team, rallied aggressively. After WVU reliever Ryan Tezak had retired the first five batters he faced, Oklahoma strung together four straight hits to cut the WVU lead to 8-4. Mazey brought in Pascal Paul to close things out, but he allowed a walk and a single as the Sooners cut the lead to 8-6. However, just as the Mountaineer crowd was getting really nervous, Corey Walter came on for WVU to get the third out of the inning

West Virginia got an insurance run in its half of the eighth. Wilson led off with a single, and one out later Tuntland stroked a single into left center to advance Wilson to third. Three pitches later Mazey again put on the hit and run and McBroom grounded to second. Hector Lorenzana's only play was to first to retire McBroom as Wilson scored to extend WVU's lead to 9-6.

Walter retired the Sooners in order in the bottom of the ninth for his first career save and WVU left the field with a share of the lead in the Big 12 Conference standings.

Oklahoma finished with six runs on sixteen hits and committed four costly errors. WVU finished with nine runs on 11 base hits and committed one error.

McBroom had a massive day, going 2-5 with a double, a homer and five RBI. Wilson was also 2-5 with two runs scored, while Tuntland joined the teo-hit parade with another two runs scored. Hoimetown favorite Matt Frazer capped a nice weekend with another double while also getting aboard via a walk and a hit.

With final exams scheduled this week, the Mountaineers will not play a midweek game. WVU returns to action at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston on Friday, May 10, for a three-game series with TCU. First pitch on Friday is set for 6:30 p.m.

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