Late comeback fails in Big 12 Championship opener
ARLINGTON, Texas — The West Virginia University baseball team opened play at the 2022 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship with a 6-4 loss to No. 18 Oklahoma Wednesday night at Globe Life Field.
The sixth-seeded Mountaineers (33-21) trailed by six runs but scored the final four runs of the baseball game, including three in the ninth inning. However, the comeback offer fell through in the team’s first playoff game.
Right-handed junior pitcher Jacob Watters took the loss on the mound, while Oklahoma’s Carter Campbell was credited with the win.
“When we get a good tee shot we normally win, but if we don’t then playing from behind is quite difficult,” the WVU coach said. Randy Mazey mentioned. “Going down a five in the second inning just took our offense away from us, but we pitched well out of the bullpen.”
After freshman infield Grant Hussey saved a run with a late-inning diving save on first base in the first, the third-seeded Sooners (34-20) batted for five runs to take a 5-0 lead in the second. A single bloop tackled OU’s first run, before a grand slam gave them the early advantage.
From there, Oklahoma added a run in the fourth to make it 6-0.
Watters pitched the third inning, allowing five runs on six hits with three strikeouts and five walks. Following his exit, second right-hander Carlson Roseau provided quality work out of the bullpen. The Marietta, Georgia native finished with five strikeouts in 4.1 innings of action while allowing just one run on three hits with four walks.
Lacking spark, the Mountaineers hit their first run on crazy ground in the top of the eighth but blocked a runner in the third. Then the team had a ninth three-run, courtesy of a pair of homers. First, Hussey hit a solo shot into right field for his team-leading 11th big steal of the year, before the first-year infielder JJ Wetherholt hit a two-run homer to draw West Virginia to within two of the lead.
However, the late rally ended there as a strikeout ended the game.
Despite the loss, WVU beat OU, 10-9, on Wednesday. Four Mountaineers – senior outfielder austin davisWetherholt, second-year receiver McGwire Holbrook and Hussey – all had two hits on the night.
With Reed, senior right-hander Zach Ottinger pitched the final 1.2 innings out of the bullpen. The two relievers combined to give up just one run over the last six innings of the game.
Next, the Mountaineers return to the Big 12 Championship on Thursday afternoon against No. 7 seeded Kansas State (27-28) in a playoff game. The first pitch is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. ET at Globe Life Field.
Second-year left-handed pitcher Ben Hampton (8-4, 4.50 ERA) is expected to start West Virginia on Thursday, while the Wildcats will counter with right-hander Blake Adams (5-6, 5.04 ERA). Of note, the Mountaineers swept the K-State to close out the regular season May 19-21, at Wagener Field at Monongalia County Ballpark in Morgantown.