Kevin Kinder \ BlueGoldNews.com

West Virginia Battles To End in 2-1 Loss to Texas Tech

West Virginia made one more mistake than Texas Tech on Thursday evening, and that narrow difference snapped the Mountaineers 10-game winning streak in a 2-1 loss to the Red Raiders,

WVU (32-20 / 11-10) saw its best-in-the-country streak snapped when Tech, stymied through stymied through six innings, broke through in the bottom of the seventh with a pair of runs. The Mountaineers will look back on that inning with regret, as most of it was built on Mountaineer miscues rather than Red Raider production. A leadoff walk and a wild pitch put Tech's Michael Davis on second, and a sacrifice fly moved him to third. Jimmy Galusky looked Neslony back on a grounder for the second out, but Tyler Neslony singled to score the tying run. A hit put runners and the corners and brought on WVU reliever B.J. Myers, but a passed ball on a pitch in the dirt allowed Neslony to come home with the go-ahead run.

Prior to that, an expected pitchers' duel unfolded between freshmen Davis Martin and Michael Grove, with the Mountaineer starter getting the edge during the head-to-head competition. Martin was very good, yielding just one run through 5.1 innings, but he did walk four of the 21 batters he faced, but Grove outdueled him over the same span by allowing no runs or walks and just one hit through five. Tech (39-13 / 18-4 ) finally tagged him with the loss due to its seventh inning scores, but it is tough to find much fault with Grove's performance. 

West Virginia broke on top early courtesy of a pair of walks from normally control-minded Tech starter Davis Martin. Walks to Kyle Davis and Darius Hill, followed by a sacrifice bunt from Ivan Vera, gave the Mountaineers a pair of runners in scoring position with one out, but the Mountaineers were only able to produce a Jackson Cramer sacrifice fly to produce a 1-0 lead. Martin also walked K.C. Huth to lead off the second, but a close forceout at second kept the Mountaineers from adding to their lead.

The Mountaineers had three good chances to score, but excellent Tech relief pitching and defense shut the door. In the sixth, the Mountaineers put runners on first and second with one out, but reliever HAyden Howard got a one-pitch double play to end the threat. One inning later, Ray Guerrini was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Cole Austin's two-out hit. Finally, WVU put runners on first and second in the ninth, but couldn't come up with the hit needed to push across the tying run.

That inability to get on the board after the first inning allowed an otherwise excellent pitching performance by WVU to go by the boards. Grove and Myers allowed only three hits while striking out five, but the one walk, wild pitch and passed ball proved to be the difference.

Catcher Ray Guerrini had three of WVU's five hits, while Cramer talled the lone RBI. Vera and Austin had the only other Mountaineer hits.

Game two of the three-game set is scheduled for Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. Eastern / 2:00 p.m. Central. Regular Friday starter Chad Donato is set to take the ball for WVU against Texas Tech's Steven Gingery.

Scorebook

  • WVU 1/2 game behind 3rd place TCU goin in.
  • Prior to the game, Texas Tech coach Tim Tadlock agreed to a four-year contract extension that will run through the 2022 season. The Red Raiders' march to the Big 12 regular season title certainly did nothing to hurt Tadlock's negotiating position in making the deal.
  • The Red Raiders had already clinched the regular-season Big 12 title. Its fifth conference crown in program history, it is Texas Tech’s first league championship since winning the Big 12 Tournament in 1998. TTU has taken the last eight days off, following a sweep at Kansas and a midweek victory at Abilene Christian. The Red Raiders were presented with the regular season championship trophy prior to the game.

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