For those that have followed the 2013 edition of the Mountaineer baseball, though, a rally from a 5-0 deficit is almost expected. As head coach Randy Mazey has said time and again this year, "there is no quit in this team". With tears in his eyes, the first year Mountaineer coach explained how he felt about the squad that rose from the depths of the Big 12 to stand just one game from a championship contest appearance.
"I love these guys," Mazey said after WVU battled back to win a 6-5, 10-inning decision over Oklahoma State. "They know how I feel about them. We could be behind 10-0 and I'd still feel like we could come back."
The Mountaineers didn't trail by that much, but it seemed like it. Oklahoma State scored on a first inning two-run homer, then added a single run in the fourth and two more in the sixth, and were cruising to what appeared to be a easy win. Cowboy starter Mark Robinette had retired 13 consecutive batters after weathering a leadoff WVU triple in the first, and was forcing pop-ups and easy out galore.
It was then that a seemingly innocuous pair of plays broke West Virginia out of its doldrums. Michael Constantini walked to lead off the sixth, and after a pair of outs Jacob Rice laid down a bunt that went for a single. With two outs, OSU didn't appear to be in trouble, but Robinette uncorked a wild pitch to push the runners up, and Ryan Tuntland followed with a single to plate both.
OSU was still in good shape, but Ryan McBroom then came to the plate and hit a bomb that sailed completely out of the park in left field, short-hopping the parking garage across the street. That blast cut the lead to 5-4, and brought Brady Wilson to the plate.
With two strikes, Wilson poked a fly ball down the left field line that barely cleared the wall to tie the score at 5-5.
"I thought it was caught at first," Wilson said afterward. "But then I was told a kid in the stands caught it in his hat."
That homer chased Robinette from the game, and reliever Kenton Bevacqua came on in relief. He reeled off seven consecutive outs of his own before WVU reached base again, but in the meantime West Virginia reliever Corey Walter was doing some battling of his own to hold the Cowboys in check. Although he allowed a total of five baserunners in the seventh and eighth innings, he worked out of both jams, helped immensely by a WVU double play in the latter frame.
McBroom doubled to lead off the bottom of the ninth, but the Mountaineers again couldn't move him around, which put the game into extra innings. Bobby Boyd led off the Mountaineer tenth with a single and advanced to second on Bobby Fleming's sacrifice bunt, which brought Jacob Rice to the plate. Eying a huge hole on the right side, Rice took aim and slapped the ball into right field for a hit. The single scored Boyd on a close play at the plate, completing the comeback.
"I saw that hole and tried to take advantage of it," Rice recounted. "Bobby is fast, and there wasn't any doubt we were going to wave him around."
West Virginia now awaits the outcome of the TCU - Kansas game. If the Horned Frogs can get the win, West Virginia would play in Sunday's Big 12 championship game at 2:00 Eastern\1:00 PM Central against Oklahoma.