The Mountaineers take the ‘Horns down.
West Virginia upset the No. 2 Texas Longhorns in Austin on Thursday 5-4 in a Big 12 clash to open the final series of the regular season.
The Mountaineers found themselves in several pinches throughout the contest, but more often than not, they came out undamaged. They stranded a total of 11 Texas runners throughout the contest, including a crucial sequence in the bottom of the ninth when Jacob Watters struck out the side with two Longhorns in scoring position.
One of the biggest such plays came in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and one out. Zach Zubia stepped up to the plate and lined one right to WVU first baseman Hudson Byorick, who made the heads-up double-play before the runner tagged up.
West Virginia’s first runs of the game came off a trio of homers. Nathan Blasick added his fourth home run of the season right off the figurative bat, sending Paul McIntosh home ahead of him to give WVU an early two-run lead.
McIntosh then added a solo shot in the third inning, and in the fifth, Brophy added another.
Texas also got a pair of scores in the first inning when Cam Williams knocked a double off WVU starter Jackson Wolf, scoring Ivan Melendez and Mitchell Daly. In the fifth, Mike Antico answered McIntosh’s solo shot with one of his own to knot the game up.
Victor Scott ultimately logged the winning RBI for West Virginia, doubling to send Hudson Byorick home for an unearned run.
Wolf (5-5) had a shaky outing by his standards, giving WVU 5.1 innings and allowing four runs on six hits, while striking out four in the winning effort. Noah Short relieved him in the sixth, while Watters closed out the final 2.2 innings and struck out four of the eight batters he faced for the save.
Texas starter Ty Madden (6-3) took the loss, allowing seven hits and four earned runs in six innings before giving the mound up to reliever Tanner Witt.
The Mountaineers conceivably got a beneficial morale boost before first pitch. Weston Mazey, the son of Randy Mazey and close friend of the program, surprised the squad at UFCU Disch-Falk Field when he made his first return to the team after suffering a traumatic brain injury in March.
West Virginia’s victory moves the Mountaineers to 23-23, giving the squad their first .500 record since April 6. The second-ranked Longhorns are also the highest-ranked team that West Virginia has ever defeated.
The Mountaineers square off against the Longhorns twice more to close out the regular season schedule. On Friday, Texas’s Tristan Stevens (7-3, 3.11 ERA) will take the rubber to square off against WVU lefty Ben Hampton (4-2, 4.08 ERA), starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. Freshman righty Carlson Reed (4-4, 5.64 ERA) will then get his first career weekend start for WVU against lefty Pete Hansen (6-1, 1.83 ERA) at 3:30 p.m. ET. Both contests will be shown on the Longhorn Network.