Big Eighth The Difference

In the biggest game up to this point in its season, the West Virginia baseball team came to Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City up to the challenge that No. 12 TCU presented.

But a five-run eighth inning was too much for the sixth-seeded Mountaineers to come back from, as West Virginia suffered a 6-2 loss to the Horned Frogs Thursday afternoon.

The majority of the game proved to be one of the best pitching battles of the tournament so far as WVU senior Corey Walter went toe-to-toe with Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Preston Morrison.

An option out of the bullpen most of the year, before he was moved into the rotation as a midweek starter when Sean Carley became the team's closer, Walter took advantage of the opportunity to get the ball Thursday, giving the Horned Frogs fits throughout most of his 7.2 innings pitched.

"That was unbelievable," said WVU head coach Randy Mazey. "I hope that's not his last outing as a Mountaineer. He's been getting better.

"If we do continue to play, I have no doubt in my mind Corey Walter can beat any team we will potentially face."

He did not allow his first hit until the fourth inning, and other than allowing one run when he found himself in a jam with runners on second and third with no outs in that fourth inning, was able to get through many of the early innings without finding himself in too much trouble. But in the eighth inning, command issues came back to haunt the Wheeling, W.Va., native.

After striking out the first batter he faced, Walter went on to walk the next two batters before hitting one to load the bases. He went on to get a fly ball to right field that didn't bring a run home before a close call on a full count walked in a run - and things went downhill from there.

"I thought it was good, but it was a ball so you just have to keep working," Walter said. "It was a tough break, but that's pitching. That's part of the game."

Miscommunication on a pop up into shallow right field allowed TCU second baseman Garrett Crain to drive in two runs with a double before Jerrick Suiter got a two-RBI single of his own to blow the game open and give TCU a 6-0 lead.

From there, the Mountaineers tried to mount another great comeback, and were even able to get a few runs on the board with a rally in the eighth inning. Billy Fleming got the scoring started for WVU with a sacrifice fly to score Justin Fox before a Ryan McBroom single brought Cody Semler in to cut it to 6-2.

But it wasn't nearly enough for WVU to get to Morrison, who was masterful for most of the game.

The junior who Mazey recruited to TCU during his time as an assistant with the Horned Frogs threw his second complete game of the season against the Mountaineers.

"He's a good pitcher. He just trashes your approach," Mazey said. "Good pitchers have a way of trashing what you want to do, that's why he's had success."

He allowed seven hits and two runs while striking out six WVU batters and walking just one in his 108-pitch complete game.

Boyd was the lone Mountaineer to finish the game with more than one hit, going 2-for-4 at the plate and catcher Cameron O'Brien was 1-for-4 with a double. WVU left six men on base and finished the game 2-for-11 with runners on base.

West Virginia will take on Baylor Friday at 4:15 EST, with the winner moving on to face TCU Saturday at 10 a.m. EST.

Mountaineers Daily Top Stories