The West Virginia Mountaineers held a 3-1 advantage heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, then the Baylor Bears rallied, producing five hits and five runs to take the lead, and held on to capture the first of the three-game series 6-3 Friday night.
West Virginia put the first run on the board in the third after Tyler Doanes pulled a 2-0 for a single, and despite Baylor starting pitcher Tyler Thomas checking over on Doanes at first, he stole second anyway, setting up Mike Kluska to deliver a hard line-drive that hopped over the second baseman as Tyler Doanes crossed home plate to put the Mountaineers up 1-0.
In the top of the fourth, Vincent Ippoliti ripped a one-out single before Kevin Brophy went opposite field over the right-centerfield wall for a two-run home run extending the Mountaineers lead, 3-0.
West Virginia starting pitcher Jackson Wolf gave up a hit in the first, then tossed four straight hitless innings before Jack Pineda reached first with a hard groundball right back up the middle but, with nobody covering second – the mental mistake proved to be costly. Jared McKenzie laid a bunt down the third baseline, beat the throw, and advanced Pineda to third. Tre Richards hit a deep fly ball down the right field line, but Austin Davis tracked it down, and Pineda put the Bears on the board.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, consecutive singles from Tyler Doanes and Mikey Kluska ended the night for Thomas as Baylor head coach Steve Rodriguez called out to the bullpen for the Ryan Leckich, and he got out of the inning on a hard ground ball over to first base.
Baylor got to Wolf in eighth when Pineda led off the inning with a single followed by a dribbler down the first base line. Tre Richardson loaded the bases after being hit by a pitch while squaring up to bunt and a single through the right side of the infield, plating two to tie the game and ending the night for Wolf.
Randy Mazey called out to his bullpen for Jakob Waters, and he got the first out of the inning, catching Antonio Valdez looking. Kyle Nevers singled before Davion drove the ball deep into the gap in left-centerfield for a two-RBI triple as the Bears took a 6-3 lead. Mazey went back to the bullpen for Noah Short, who retired two to get out of the inning.
Rodriguez tapped in his closer Luke Boyd, and he delivered a 1-2-3 inning, striking out two.
The first pitch for game two of the series is Saturday at 4:00 pm EST and streaming on ESPN+.
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