Cowpoked

West Virginia's slim chance to win the regular season Big 12 championship went by the boards as the Mountaineers dropped a 7-4 decision to 12th-ranked Oklahoma State on Thursday night in Stillwater.

WVU got off to a bad start offensively against OSU starter Jason Hursh, who exhibited excellent control through the first four innings. He retired the first 11 Mountaineers he faced before Jacob Rice doubled to right field with two outs in the fourth, and by the time West Virginia mounted a serious threat, he had a 6-0 cushion. In all, West Virginia went down in order in five innings, and had just one base runner in one other. The Mountaineers put a runner as far as second base in just three innings, and while it scored in two of those frames, it was unable to cross the plate in any of the other seven.

Meanwhile, OSU (37-13, 12-9) was building its lead with a pair of three run innings in the third and fourth. The former was aided by a hit batter, a wild pitch and an error, while the latter was built on a pair of Cowboy home runs.

OSU reliever Vince Wheeland added two innings in relief of Hurst, and while he gave up a single run he also faced just eight hitters, striking out two. The duo did not walk a batter, and allowed just one extra base hit against 31 Mountaineer batters. Closer Brendan McCurry pitched the ninth to close out the contest.

West Virginia's one solid offensive inning came in the fifth, when it pushed three runs across to cut OSU's lead to 6-3. Ryan McBroom led off the inning with a single (WVU's only leadoff baserunner of the game) , and moved to second on Bobby Fleming's infield hit. Matt Frazer loaded the bases with yet another single.

At this point, the Mountaineers needed a big hit to set up a monster inning, but it didn't materialize. Alan Filauro grounded out to first to score a run, Fleming scored on a wild pitch and Boyd singled home Frazer, but Munden then struck out to end the inning. Although the three runs were good, it was short of what WVU needed to really make a push.

The Mountaineers (30-24, 12-10) added a run in the eighth when Brady Wilson singled, stole second and scored on Jacob Rice's RBI hit.

WVU starter Dan Dierdorff was left to battle through OSU's scoring innings, as head coach Randy Mazey elected to rest his relievers for the upcoming Big 12 tournament. The senior starter pitched seven innings, allowing seven runs and ten hits. He yielded two doubles and two home runs to 33 OSU batters. Reliever Ryan Hostrander pitched the eighth, but was victimized by an error, a dropped throw on an attempted steal, a checked swing single and a no-call on a WVU timeout that allowed OSU runner Jarrett Higgins to move from first to second. On the play, Hostrander and Filauro, both of whom believed time had been called, had a discussion while Higgins ran to second. To his credit, Hostrander was able to battle back, sandwiching a strikeout and a groundout around a walk to Donnie Walton to get out of the inning.

Rice, in his homecoming appearance, had two hits and an RBI for WVU. Frazer also had a pair of hits, including a double. WVU dropped to fourth place in the tightly contested Big 12 league standings.

Eliminated from the regular season title race, WVU will likely hold Harrison Musgrave out of both Friday's and Saturday's games. John Means is scheduled to start Friday's 7:30 p.m. game, with Saturday's starter yet to be determined.


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