WVU Swept by No. 18 Cowboys

After two games in a row of folding down the stretch and allowing No. 18 Oklahoma State to run away with the game, it was a rough start that doomed the West Virginia baseball team en route to a 7-4 loss to the Cowboys at Hawley Field.

It was the second straight Big 12 Conference series in which the Mountaineers have been swept and extends their current losing streak to seven games. West Virginia hasn't won a game since a 6-4 victory against Pittsburgh on April 1.

West Virginia was forced to make a few pitching changes early in the game as WVU starter Michael Bennett struggled early on in place of John Means, who missed his scheduled start Sunday due to a tricep strain that caused him to miss a bullpen session earlier in the week.

Bennett threw a total of 11 pitches, with only his first three pitches of the game going for strikes, before head coach Randy Mazey pulled him in favor of Zach Bargeron following back-to-back four-pitch walks that loaded the bases.

The Cowboys were able to strike for their first two runs of the game immediately after Bargeron entered the game without even putting the ball in play. The senior lefty hit the first batter he faced to bring in one run before balking home a second run shortly after.

"I've been known as a patient guy, but there's only so much you can do," Mazey said.

Oklahoma State would close the top half of the first inning with a four-run cushion that was able to help it keep control of the game.

WVU was able to stay within reach of the Cowboy lead throughout those early struggles though, getting two runs back in the bottom of the first before a Billy Fleming double in the second inning made it a 4-3 game.

After Bargeron gave up a single to start the second inning, he left the game in favor of Ryan Tezak – and with the Mountaineers in need of a solid relief outing, the right-hander gave them just what they needed to settle down the Oklahoma State bats.

"It's a shame we play again so soon because he's definitely earned some more time on the mound," Mazey said. "They gave us an opportunity to win this game today, we just spotted them four runs in the first inning."

In the second-longest outing of his career, Tezak threw six innings, gave up two runs and struck out two while giving the Mountaineers chances to get back into the game.

Oklahoma State left eight runners on base, including five in scoring position, as Tezak was able to get out of a few jams.

But much like has been the case throughout the series, the Mountaineers struggled to come up with timely hits down the stretch whereas the Cowboys found ways to get insurance runs and pick up clutch hits to end WVU's comeback tries.

West Virginia had just nine hits in 32 at bats (.281 BA) with two outs in the series and struggled to string hits together on multiple occasions late Sunday afternoon.

"Our at bats were good, we're just in a spell right now where we're not getting hits with two outs," Mazey said. "That'll turn. We were just talking to the kids and when bad things happen to people, that's when their true character comes out.

"We're going to get back to work tomorrow."

Bobby Boyd and Ryan McBroom led the way for the Mountaineers offensively. Boyd went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and laid down a bunt base hit with two outs that led to Fleming's RBI double in the second while McBroom picked up three more hits with two RBI.

The Mountaineers now sit at 16-15 and 2-6 in Big 12 Conference play. They will take on Ohio State Tuesday at Hawley Field.

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