For much of this season, WVU (17-14, 4-4) has hit the ball well, and more importantly, taken advantage of scoring opportunities. It has gotten excellent work from starting pitchers, who have avoided walks and gotten big outs in key situations. And while errors have been naggingly persistent, it has mostly made plays at important junctures to keep opponents off the scoreboard. However, none of those were apparent in Saturday's 8-0 loss to the Bears, who turned a competitive game into a rout by doing just the things the Mountaineers failed to execute.
WVU starting pitcher Corey Walter, who has displayed excellent control all year, walked four batters and allowed eight hits in 4 1/3 innings of work. While the outing wasn't awful by any means, Walter clearly didn't have the location he has shown in most other outings this year.
In contrast, Baylor starter Max Garner gave up seven hits of his own, but walked just one and didn't allow an extra base hit. WVU went through five other pitchers, including Taylor Munden, who came on in the eighth as the game got out of control, but none were particularly effective as the Bears added to an early 2-0 lead with six more runs over their final four at-bats.
At the plate, WVU wasn't shut down early, but didn't manage to produce with runners in scoring position, leaving two runners on in the second, fourth, fifth and seventh innings. A timely hit or two in any of those frames could have quickly changed the character of the game, but instead it was Baylor (15-16, 4-3) that came up with the hits and plays to plate runs of their own and keep WVU off the board.
WVU's defense didn't have an error, but it also contributed to Baylor's offensive production when it failed to turn a double play that should have ended the third inning.
The lone bright spot for WVU was third baseman Ryan Tuntland, who had three of the Mountaineers' eight hits.
The two teams meet again Sunday at 2:05 p.m. ET in the final game of the three-game series. West Virginia will be trying to become the first team to gather a conference series win over the Bears this year, and will send John Means (3-1, 3.86 ERA) to the mound. Baylor has still yet to announce its starting pitcher.