Oklahoma State broke through for five runs in the fifth inning and never looked back in a 5-0 shutout victory over West Virginia in Stillwater, Okla. Just as they did on Friday, the Cowboys put together an outburst built on Mountaineer errors and miscues.
One inning after wiggling out of a bases loaded one out jam, John Means couldn’t escape the fifth as the Cowboys (38-13, 13-9 Big 12) scored three unearned runs on walks, errors and generally bad all-around play in the five run outburst.
In clinching the series Oklahoma State moved into sole possession of second place in the Big 12 pending the outcome of Friday’s Kansas State-Oklahoma game.
With one game remaining in the regular season, WVU sits in fifth place in the Big 12 standings at 30-25 overall and 12-11 in Big 12 play. The win improves Oklahoma State’s record to 39-13 and 13-9, moving them into second place.
The Mountaineers now lead Baylor, TCU and Kansas by one-half game in the standings. WVU holds the tiebreaker over only Kansas of that group.
West Virginia (30-25, 12-11) had a chance to jump out to their first lead of the series in the top of the fifth. After Means worked his way out of the fourth inning, the Mountaineers strung three straight one out hits together to load the bases off OSU starter Tyler Nurdin. Matt Frazer started it off with a surprise bunt for a single with one out. Alan Filauro blooped a single into center and Taylor Munden lined a shot up the middle that forced Frazer to move back towards second, which kept him from scoring.
WVU looked to be set to finally get on the scoreboard, but after a visit to the mound, Nurdin got Bobby Boyd to line out to second and Brady Wilson grounded to second to end the threat.
Nurdin (4-2), who had breezed through the first four innings, then settled back down to shut the Mountaineers down for a complete game four-hit shutout.
Means (4-4) pitched 4 1/3 innings allowing four hits and four runs, though only two runs were earned. While suffering from three WVU errors ,Means also walked three batters and hit another. One of the errors was his own, and he threw out of the reach of second baseman Billy Fleming on an attempted sacrifice bunt with the score still 0-0 in the fifth that helped open the floodgates.
Corey Walter pitched the last 3 2/3 innings for WVU. After being victimized by an unearned run of his own to close the fifth, Walter allowed only one hit, but walked an astonishing five batters. On the evening, WVU pitchers allowed eight walks and the hit batsman. WVU only allowed four true hits on the night.
West Virginia is playing its worst baseball of the season at a completely inopportune time. After coming into last weekend’s series with TCU tied for first in the Big 12, the Mountaineers have now dropped five in a row and have looked bad doing it. West Virginia just does not seem to have recovered from the six run first inning outburst by TCU in the second game this past Saturday.
Since that inning WVU has been outscored 34-15 and have committed a whopping 10 errors. WVU’s four errors on the evening give them a league worst 82 on the season. Fielding is clearly an issue that head coach Randy Mazey must address for next year.
The Mountaineers return to action on Saturday in the final game of the regular season against Oklahoma State. Mazey has not announced a starter for the game but it is likely to be regular Tuesday starter Brock Dykxhoorn (4-2). Matt Robinette (5-0, 3.38) is scheduled to take the mound for Oklahoma State. West Virginia will attempt to avoid being swept for the first time in the Big 12 this season in the 4:00 p.m. game.