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WVU EVENS BASEBALL SERIES WITH TEXAS

In what could be a winner-take-all series in terms of a berth in the NCAA postseason, West Virginia held off Texas for a 4-3 Game 2 win Saturday in Austin, evening the series 1-1 heading into Sunday's decisive Game 3.

After taking Game 1 with Nolan Kingham on the mound on Friday, Texas had high hopes of securing a series victory over West Virginia with stud redshirt junior P Morgan Cooper on the mound for UT in Game 2.

But now the Longhorns (33-20, 10-12 Big 12) will have to seek the series win against WVU (32-21,12-11) in Game 3 on Sunday with Kyle Johnston (2-1, 3.24 ERA) on the mound for UT. The Game 3-winner will significantly bolster its resume for a postseason bid considering both teams are in the RPI Top 25 (WVU's RPI is 20 and Texas' 23)

Cooper came into the start with the Big 12's third-best ERA (2.27) as part of Texas' Big 12-leading pitching staff (3.11 ERA). 

Despite a quality start in a game moved up three-and-a-half hours because of inclement weather forecasts, Cooper ended up taking the Game 2 loss for Texas. Cooper gave up just two runs on six hits through six innings with seven strikeouts and three walks.

Texas tied West Virginia 1-1 in the fifth inning. But WVU took a 2-1 in lead in the sixth after Mountaineers' pitcher Braden Zabrinsky hit a two-out single, stole second and took third on a wild pitch and then scored on an RBI single by Chase Illig.

WVU added a run in the seventh inning off of Texas reliever Chase Shugart for a 3-1 lead. The Longhorns cut WVU's lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh after David Hamilton walked, stole second, advanced to third on a groundout by Kody Clemens and scored on a fielder's choice by Travis Jones.

Lefty reliever Nick Kennedy pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning before sophomore righty Tyler Schimpf came in to pitch the ninth for Texas, giving up a two-out, RBI double that put WVU up 4-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth.

But after Kody Clemens singled home David Hamilton with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, cutting WVU's lead to 4-3,  Travis Jones grounded out to third base for out No. 3, allowing the Mountaineers to even the series with a 4-3 victory.

Texas left nine on base in a game of missed opportunities. WVU also left 9 on base.

Kody Clemens was 2-for-3 with an RBI.

Patrick Mathis was 1-for-2 but drew three walks.

David Hamilton was 1-for-3 with a walk and 2 runs scored.

Zane Gurwitz, who was 3-for-4 in Game 1, was 1-for-3 in Game 2 and was hit by a pitch while scoring a run.

Sunday's decisive Game 3 is scheduled for a 1 pm CT start at Disch-Falk Field.

 

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