After the first few innings of Sunday's Big 12 championship game it looked as if TCU was on its way to an easy victory over West Virginia, but the Mountaineers showed the same perseverance and grit that sparked one of the nation's most impressive turnarounds in the 2016 season.
Freshman pitcher Michael Grove got the nod to start Sunday's title game but struggled mightily and was pulled in the first inning after allowing five earned runs and picking up just one out. WVU head coach Randy Mazey called on senior Ross Vance to relieve Grove and give an encore to his stellar performance against Oklahoma earlier in the week and Vance did not disappoint. Vance allowed three more earned runs in the second and third innings but gained his composure en route to a 130 pitch, 12 strikeout performance over the next 6.1 innings that allowed the Mountaineers to battle back in a game that saw momentum see-saw between both teams all afternoon.
In the bottom half of the third WVU was able to chip into the TCU lead and earned three runs behind hits from Jimmy Galusky, Kyle Davis, Jackson Cramer and Darius Hill. In the fourth inning WVU was able to load the bases and Darius Hill knocked in a triple that scored three runs and cut the Mountaineer deficit to 8-6. TCU got a run back in the top of the fifth, but West Virginia was in store for a huge bottom half of the fifth inning. A pair of doubles from Galusky and Davis helped the Mountaineers score four runs and capture the lead, going up 10-9. Davis' double was a two-run shot that gave him a Big 12 record for RBIs in a tournament.
The Mountaineers held the one run lead until the top of the ninth inning when Ryan Merrill hit a sacrifice fly that brought home the game tying run. Jackson Cramer was able to reach base in the bottom half of the ninth via a Jackson Cramer walk, but TCU closer Durbin Feltman was too much for the Mountaineers. In the tenth and final inning of the game TCU freshman phenom Luken Baker hit his fourth home run of the Big 12 tournament that gave the Horned Frogs an 11-10 lead and a Big 12 title.
WVU will have to wait until tomorrow's selection show at noon to find out if they will receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament. The NCAA selection show will be aired on ESPN U at 12:00 p.m. eastern time.