West Virginia (27-19, 11-9 Big 12) used a three-RBI performance by Jackson Cramer to complete the sweep of Texas (21-27, 9-12 Big 12) on Sunday afternoon. The 9-5 win gave the Mountaineers their 27th victory of the year, matching their 2015 win total with eight games still left to play.
The Mountaineers scored the majority of their runs off of Texas starting pitcher Kyle Johnston (3-2 3.77 ERA), who struggled with his command early and often, walking four batters and surrendering six earned runs in just 1.2 innings of work. In the first inning Johnston started his outing by walking both Braden Zarbnisky and Kyle Davis. After walking both batters he threw a wild pitch that would move both base runners to second and third. Darius Hill made Johnston pay for the wild pitch and knocked in a sacrifice fly, giving the Mountaineers a 1-0 lead before they even registered a hit. After Hill's fly-out, freshman sensation Ivan Vera came to the plate and hit an RBI single that scored Davis. Jackson Cramer followed Vera's at-bat with his first of three RBI singles, giving WVU a 3-0 lead after the first inning.
The second inning didn't go much smoother for Johnston as he walked two of the first three batters he faced before allowing a pair of RBI singles to Kyle Davis and Darius Hill. After Davis scored on a fielders choice, Johnston walked Jackson Cramer and Texas quickly made a pitching change, bringing in sophomore Connor Mayes. All though the Longhorns brought a new pitcher in, the damage wasn't done. Mayes pitched the count full against Ray Guerrini before he belted a double to left field which extended the Mountaineers lead to 7-1 after two innings.
The Longhorns battled back in the top of the third inning, after Zane Gurwitz hit a three-run home run to deep left field that cut the Mountaineers lead to 7-4. Texas also scored another run in the fourth, drawing even closer and making the score 7-5, but that was as close as it would come. Jackson Cramer hit his second and third RBIs on a pair of singles in the fourth and sixth innings that gave the Mountaineers their final two runs of the day. After the game head coach Randy Mazey spoke about Cramer's productive day.
"A month ago when we weren't winning a lot of games I put it on the shoulders of (Jackson) Cramer and Kyle Davis," Mazey said. "You don't want to count on the freshmen to carry the team, you want to count on the guys who have been through the league and been through this grind and those guys have taken it upon themselves to start playing better. When they start paying better the Mountaineers start winning."
WVU pitcher Connor Dotson (5-4, 5.45 ERA) picked up the victory today after finding out shortly before the game that he would get the nod to start. Dotson threw nine strikeouts but credited the run support he received as a major factor in the victory.
"This whole weekend our offense has been a huge bright spot," Dotson said. "They have been hitting well but the numbers just weren't there, but they exploded this weekend."
The Mountaineers are peaking at the right time and still have eight regular season games left to raise their RPI before the Big 12 tournament starts. The sweep against Texas speaks volumes about the improvement that WVU has experienced after dropping several games they were favored to win earlier in the year. For Texas the sweep is especially disappointing because it marks the first time that the Longhorns have been swept in back-to-back conference series since 1956.
The Mountaineers will look to win their sixth straight when they face Maryland in their final home midweek contest of the season on Tuesday, May 10 at 6:30 p.m.