Texas, which leads the Big 12 in team ERA, is in most every game thanks to its outstanding pitching staff. When Harrison Musgrave is on the mound, WVU is every bit as competitive. So, it wasn't surprising when the Mountaineers and Longhorns hooked up in a classic pitcher's showdown on Friday night.
Through the first seven innings, Musgrave and Texas starter Parker French were dominant. Each allowed just four hits, and as a result the game was tied 0-0 going into the top of the eighth. It was then that French cracked, albeit just a bit, leading to perhaps the biggest decision of the game.
After yielding a single and a walk with one out, Texas coach Augie Garrido made the decision to pull French. While the move wasn't necessarily a bad one, being that outstanding closer Corey Knebel (1.86 ERA) was the choice in relief, there were still a few eyebrows raised at the decision. French has allowed just 15 earned runs all season, but wasn't given the chance to extricate himself from the scoring situation.
Knebel, perhaps not quite loose, uncorked a wild pitch and then walked Tyler Munden, which loaded the bases. Bobby Boyd followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to score Bobby Fleming with the game's only run.
Finally staked to a lead, Musgrave faced a determined Texas rally attempt. Two singles gave the Longhorns runners on first and second with one out, but Munden snared a lane drive off the bat of C.J. Hinojosa, then doubled Ty Marlow off the bag on second to end the inning.
The 'Horns didn't go down quietly in the ninth, either. A pair of walks sandwiched around a sacrifice bunt put runners on first and second with two out, but Musgrave bore down and got pinchhitter Jeremy Montalbano to pop up to Junder to end the game.
Musgrave, who tossed his first complete game shoutout of the season, allowed six hits and two walks while striking out nine Texas hitters. He did not allow an extra base hit. The win marked the fourth time this year he has not allowed a run in a starting role.
For WVU (22-17, 5-5), Fleming had two singles and scored the game's only run. Texas second baseman Brooks Marlow had three of the Horns six hits, while Weston Hall had two.
The teams face each other again on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern. Dan Dierdorff is schedule to take the mound for WVU, while Texas (20-16, 4-9) will counter with Dillon Peters.