Ross Vance (5-3) pitched what could be his best performance of the year on Saturday evening, leading the Mountaineers (23-19, 8-9 Big 12) to their fourth victory in five games over Baylor (20-24, 6-12 Big 12) and helping the Mountaineers win their first Big 12 series since taking two of three against Oklahoma State in early April.
WVU took advantage of a shaky performance by starting Baylor pitcher Andrew McInvale (2-3) in the bottom of the second inning, thanks to a pair of back-to-back singles by Jackson Cramer and Ivan Vera. A wild pitch that buzzed Cole Austin advanced both runners to second and third and two pitches later Austin walked, loading the bases with no outs. Kyle Gray then came to the plate and hit a ground out up the first base line that put WVU ahead 1-0. Baylor was able to get out of the inning with minimal damage after Jimmy Galusky popped into a double play.
McInvale struggled again in the third inning, loading the bases and walking Ray Guerrini to give the Mountaineers their second run of the game. Baylor brought in relief pitcher Nick Lewis, who was able to get out of the bases-loaded jam by striking out Cole Austin. Lewis fared much better than McInvale and didn't allow any Mountaineers to get on base until the eighth inning. The Mountaineers picked up four runs in the eighth inning, as Kyle Davis got on base via walk and Ivan Vera hit a single to put runners at first and third. Jackson Cramer then ripped an RBI double to right field which gave the Mountaineers two big insurance runs and extended their lead to 4-1. Lewis then hit Guerrini and his day came to an abrupt end after allowing two hits in 4.2 innings. Baylor brought in Joe Heinerman, who threw a wild pitch that allowed Ivan Vera to take home plate, getting WVU's third and final run in the eighth and making the score 5-1.
On the other side of the mound, Ross Vance didn't allow a single earned run and Baylor scored their only run of the game with two outs on in the top of the seventh inning when shortstop Jimmy Galusky dropped a routine fly ball. Vance credited his fastball command as to why he payed so well today.
"I feel like the one thing I had working today was my fastball command," Vance said. "I felt like I could get it on both sides of the plate and I got a lot of ground balls out of it."
The Mountaineers will be back in action on Tuesday night at 6:30 when the Virginia Tech Hokies come to town.