The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

May 21, 2014

WVU baseball picks up huge win in Big 12 tourney

West Virginia’s hopes of a spot on the NCAA baseball tournament, which appeared all but dead Wednesday morning, are still alive after a thrilling comeback victory over Kansas in Oklahoma City at the 2014 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship.

The sixth-seeded Mountaineers (28-24), down 8-2 in the seventh inning, scored eight runs that frame to come back to win 10-9 over the third-seeded Jayhawks. Nine of WVU’s 10 runs came with two outs.

WVU will take on second-seeded TCU, a winner over Baylor Wednesday, in the winners’ bracket today at 5 p.m., ET, at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in a game that could provide a huge boost to the Mountaineer’s RPI rating, and thus their chances of making the tournament.

Freshman Jackson Cramer led WVU’s offensive effort against KU with two hits, including a three-run home run, the first of his career, in the seventh inning with the Mountaineers trailing 8-7 with two outs.

Billy Fleming (2-for-5), Ryan McBroom (3-for-5), Jacob Rice (2-for-4) and Brad Johnson (2-for-5) all chipped in at least two hits for the Mountaineers.

WVU’s ace, Harrison Musgrave, started the game and pitched 5 2-3 innings for the Mountaineers, allowing nine hits and four earned runs. Sean Carley entered the game in relief in the eighth inning with runners on second and third and nobody out. He got out of the jam allowing just one run and pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his fourth save of the season.

WVU actually struck first with two runs in the first inning. With two outs and no one on base, the Mountaineers recorded three straight two-out hits.

Senior Jacob Rice singled and a KU throwing error allowed Billy Fleming to score from third. Later in the first frame, Rice stole second base. The throw to second allowed Ryan McBroom to steal home, giving the Mountaineers an early 2-0  lead.

After being shut out through the first four innings, the Jayhawks got things going offensively in the fifth inning. After a double and a Mountaineer error, Kansas scored its first run of the game on a Musgrave wild pitch.

KU then registered a double and a single before a two-run double by senior Tucker Tharp gave the Jayhawks their first lead of the game, 4-2.

Kansas added another run in the sixth and then with Ryan Tezak in for relief of Musgrave, Kansas added a two-out, two-run single and a two-out RBI double in the sixth to grab an 8-2 advantage.

The Mountaineers responded, though, by batting around in the seventh. Back-to-back RBI doubles from McBroom and Rice with two outs, then an RBI single by Brad Johnson cut the deficit to 8-7. Cramer followed that up with his three-run shot, giving WVU a 10-8 lead.

The Jayhawks added a run in the eighth against Carley and threatened in the ninth, getting a runner in scoring position with two outs. But the junior from Melbourne, Fla., closed the door to secure the WVU victory.

Today’s game will be televised on affiliates of Fox College Sports, while links to live stats are available on WVUsports.com.

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