Morgantown, WV - The West Virginia Mountaineers took an early lead, relinquished it, then came back for the walk-off over No. 7 Texas Tech 6-5 Saturday evening.
West Virginia came out aggressive and put a run on the board in the first inning with the aid of two errors from Texas Tech. Tyler Doanes got the Mountaineers going with a leadoff single up the middle, then Victor Scott laid a bunt down the first base line, making it a tough throw for Texas Tech starting pitcher Micah Dallas and threw it wide into right field, and Scott took first. Hudson Byorick put the ball on the ground and what appeared to be a double play was another errant throw as Doanes crossed home, putting the Mountaineers up 1-0.
The Mountaineers kept it going in the second when Vincent Ippoliti and Matt McCormick produced consecutive singles, putting runners on the corners. Ippoliti scored on a wild pitch, then Austin Davis ripped a line drive into centerfield, scoring McCormick and extending the Mountaineers lead 3-0.
West Virginia starting pitcher Adam Tulloch was keeping the Red Raiders batters on their heels until the fourth when Jace Young led off the inning with a single into right field, and Cole Stilwell followed with a double down the right field before Cole Stanley drove an RBI single into centerfield to cut into the lead 3-1, but the Mountaineers got out of the inning with a 6-4-3 double play.
Texas Tech continued to chip away in the fifth with another run in the first on a sacrifice fly from Stilwell. However, the Mountaineers responded in the bottom of the inning after Kevin Brophy hit a lead off double, and with two outs, Mikey Kluska ended a two-game slump with an RBI single into left field extending the lead 4-2.
Tulloch found himself in trouble again in the sixth when beaning the first two batters then walking the third, loading the bases no outs before head coach Randy Mazey called out to the bullpen for Zach Ottinger, who proceeded to hit the first batter he faced and scoring a run. Easton Murrell hit a sacrifice fly to left field to tie the game. Ottinger loaded the bases after hitting another batter and walked another to give the Red Raiders a 5-4 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Victor Scott worked a one-out walk, took second on a wild pitch, advanced to third on an infield single from Hudson Byorick before Paul McIntosh laced a line drive into left field for an RBI single and tying the game at five.
Jacob Watters came in the ninth and pitched a gem, retiring the side.
In the bottom of the ninth, Kevin Brophy hit a leadoff single. Then, with infielders playing in expecting a bunt, Austin Davis slapped it through left side, then Tyler Doanes worked a walk to load the bases. Mikey Kluska stepped to the plate before Mazey called his guys in, then Texas Tech head coach Tim Tadlock shifted to a five-man infield but to no avail as Kluska hit a ground ball over to first, but the throw may have been in time, however, catcher Braxton Fulford could not find the plate as pinch-runner Ben Abernathy crossed home as the Mountaineers knock off the Red Raiders 6-5.
“We talk to them about limiting the amount of free bases we give them, and I think we had seven walks and six hit by pitches, and usually you give a team like that 13 free bases there’s little to no chance you’re going to win that game, but fortunately we battled and grinded pretty good offensively and ended up scoring one more than they did,” said Mazey.
A series-deciding game three is set for Sunday at 1:00 pm inside Monongalia County Ballpark.
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