The game will be continued at Noon eastern on Saturday, followed by the scheduled second game of the series 45 minutes after the completion of game one. WVU has Ray Guerrini at second base and Taylor Munden at first with clean-up hitter Jackson Cramer at the plate. There are two outs for OSU reliever Tyler Buffett on the mound and no count against Cramer – though that count would automatically reset per typical baseball rules.
The game is a huge one for the Mountaineers (24-23, 6-12 Big 12) as they battle to climb out of the conference basement and reach the postseason league tournament, which takes the top eight of the nine Big 12 teams. With Kansas’ loss to No. 3 TCU on Friday, West Virginia is within a half game of tying for eighth place. Oklahoma State (31-15, 14-7) is battling TCU for first place.
WVU led 4-0 through six innings largely off the dominating start by Connor Dotson. The freshman right-hander allowed just one hit through five innings in controlling a powerful Cowboy offense before getting into a two-on, one-out jam in the seventh inning. Dotson, who will take a no decision, then issued consecutive walks to force in the initial Oklahoma State run. He then gave way to BJ Myers, who walked in another run before Corey Hassel’s two-run single tied the game at 4-4. Myers, a freshman, then induced a double play grounder to end the inning and pitched a scoreless eighth inning to set-up the top ninth.
Dotson’s start was the finest of his collegiate career, the Texan firing seven strikeouts, eclipsing his previous best of four. The 6.1 innings pitched were also a personal best, the previous longest outings coming against Texas and Kansas State, when he went six innings. The offense backed him adequately, getting the leadoff hitter on in six of the first seven innings while pushing across the four runs for the initial lead.
West Virginia went ahead 2-0 in the fourth inning on back-to-back triples by Cramer and Kyle Davis followed by Brad Johnson’s RBI groundout. It was the first time this season the Mountaineers have had consecutive triples, and boosted their total to seven this year. WVU added another two runs in the sixth inning on two key bases loaded RBIs. Munden started the frame with a double, which was followed by consecutive walks to Cramer and Davis. That chased OSU starter Jon Perrin, who pitched five innings, allowing five hits and the eventual four earned runs as he was responsible for the sacks full situation inherited by reliever Remey Reed.
The 6-5 right-hander walked Johnson to plate a run to put West Virginia ahead 3-0 before Shaun Corso lined out to left after a pop out by Shaun Wood. That sac fly pushed the advantage to 4-0 before KC Huth struck out looking with the bases loaded following a Guerrini walk. That stranded three, but not before the lead was doubled heading to the bottom off the sixth to give Dotson some added operating room. Reed had just a 1.03 ERA entering over 18 appearances, but couldn’t shut the door when Oklahoma State most needed it.
Dotson, in contrast, responded by setting the Cowboys down in order, including a pair of strikeouts, to keep the momentum. The freshman threw just 11 pitches in the frame, and was at just 85 pitches, 43 strikes, through the shutout six innings. He then came out for the seventh and got into the two-on, one-out jam before giving way to Myers. Munden and Corso have two hits apiece, with Justin Fox, Cramer, Davis and Guerrini tallying the rest of WVU’s eight hits. The Cowboys have four, led by Hassel’s big blow for the two RBI. The Mountaineers have stranded seven to OSU’s five.
Oklahoma State, 8-2 all-time against West Virginia, has won 13 of its last 14 Big 12 series. The Mountaineers were swept last season in Morgantown. Head coach Randy Mazey – who will be able to return for Saturday’s second game after a two-game NCAA suspension – will throw junior left-hander Ross Vance (6-4, 3.12 ERA) on Saturday and sophomore right-hander Chad Donato (6-5, 2.87 ERA) on Sunday. OSU head coach Josh Holliday counters with senior left-hander Michael Freeman (8-2, 1.16 ERA) on Saturday. Sunday’s starter has not been announced.