West Virginia Drops Series Finale Against Oklahoma State As Elliott Throws Gem

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Jensen Elliott pitched a complete game and J.R. Davis hit for the cycle and drove in four runs as No. 16 Oklahoma State salvaged the third game of the series with an 8-1 win over West Virginia here Sunday.

With the Mountaineers looking for the sweep, OSU flexed its muscle on the mound and at the plate, pounding out 10 hits. Davis led the charge, finishing 4-for-4 with the four RBI and three runs scored. That included a two-run homer off the top of the wall in left to blow the game open at 5-0 in the 8th inning. With the Cowboys touching up the WVU bullpen, Davis got another at-bat in the 9th inning, and delivered with a double to the wall to complete the cycle.

West Virginia, meanwhile, was held in check by Elliott. The crafty right-hander scattered just four hits over the nine innings with four strikeouts and four walks. Mountaineer catcher Ivan Vera was the only player to hit Jensen until the 8th inning, getting a pair of singles to right and left field to raise his average to a team-best .391. 

Vera played in the place of usual starter Ray Guerrini, who served a mandatory one-game suspension after being ejected during Saturday's WVU win. Jimmy Galusky and KC Huth had the only other hits, Huth's a solo home run in the ninth to avoid the shutout.

"We knew they had great pitching coming in, and their guy pitched," head coach Randy Mazey said. "He kept the ball down in the zone and knew how to pitch."

WVU starter BJ Myers kept the Mountaineers in the game until the 8th inning, when he was taken out trailing 3-0 after showing discomfort after a pitch. Myers (2-3) allowed five hits and four runs, three earned, while striking out seven. Mazey said he was unaware of the exact injury, and that the right-hander will be further evaluated.

Elliott (3-1) picked up his third win of the year, and set career bests for innings pitched and runs allowed. The freshman threw 131 pitches, 79 for strikes, and lowered his ERA to a sterling 1.82.

West Virginia (14-11, 4-4 Big 12) was trying for the sweep after riding its own starting pitching to one-run wins in the first two series games. But behind Davis' three extra base hits and a pair of singles from Donnie Walton, OSU's offense came alive to go 6-for-14 with runners on.  The Cowboys, whose average ranked last in the Big 12 entering the weekend - got the leadoff hitter on in five innings and capitalized with timely hitting. Five different Mountaineer relievers finished the final two innings.

"We wanted to win this obviously, but he had all his pitches working," WVU third baseman Kyle Davis said of Elliott. "He threw a gem. You tip your cap to him. Now that we have (preseason favorites) TCU and Oklahoma State out of the way, hopefully we can get rolling."

The Cowboys took the lead in the third inning when Davis tripled following a single by Collin Theroux. Davis then tagged and scored on a deep foul to left field to make it 2-0. The Cowboys added on in the sixth inning when Davis scored again, this time off a steal attempt via Walton's seeing-eye RBI single. The ground ball went right through the hole vacated when Galusky covered the bag from shortstop, and a mediocre relay throw allowed Davis to score from first.

Davis moved up to second base on the throw to the plate, but was stranded when Myers managed to retire three consecutive hitters on two fly outs and a ground out. That was enough, however, as Elliott continued to pound the zone and Davis added a two-run homer in the 8th inning for a 5-0 lead. OSU (19-9, 4-2) scored two more runs in the 8th on a Dustin Williams home run, and added another in the 9th, this on Davis' double to the wall.

Still, the weekend was a success for West Virginia, which entered having lost six of eight including a sweep at the hands of Canisius. The wins kept the Mountaineers smack in the middle of the nine-team league race, while Oklahoma State fell into a tie for second after entering as the leader. 

"We really played well this weekend," Mazey said. "We took two out of three to remain in the Big 12 race."

WVU now has winnable games against Marshall in Charleston on Tuesday and at home versus Eastern Michigan on Wednesday before a weekend series with Furman. The trouble, however, has been that the midweek starters have not come close to matching the weekend rotation of Chad Donato, Ross Vance and Myers. Mazey has not announced a starter for Tuesday's game.

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