West Virginia (18-10, 5-2 Big 12) used a dominating performance from B.J. Myers and took advantage of several Kansas errors to beat the Jayhawks (13-16, 3-4 Big 12) on Friday night.
On just the second at-bat of the game, Ivan "Pudge" Gonzalez got the Mountaineers on the board when he blasted his second home run of the season to deep left field. The two run shot brought home Kyle Gray, who had walked to lead off the game and it looked like it could be a quick outing for Kansas starter Taylor Turski. However Turski regained his composure and bounced back nicely, striking out the next three batters to get out of the inning.
West Virginia stranded runners in scoring position in both the third and fourth innings, but in the fifth inning it looked as if Turski's elevated pitch count finally got the best of him. After two quick outs, Ivan Gonzalez registered his third hit of the day on a hard hit ball between Kansas's shortstop and third basemen. Following Gonzalez's single Turski walked Jackson Cramer and Cole Austin, setting up Darius Hill with a bases loaded opportunity and two outs.
Hill hit a routine pop up to shallow center, but Jayhawk center fielder Rudy Kaare made a devastating error when he took an awkward path to the ball and dropped an easy catch. The fielding error scored three Mountaineers and extended West Virginia's lead to 5-0.
For Kansas, that lead might as well have been 25-0 with how well West Virginia starter B.J. Myers (3-2, 3.19 ERA) pitched on the night. Myers regularly flustered Jayhawk batters as he threw 125 pitches, struck out 10 batters and allowed just 5 hits. After the game, the junior reviewed his performance on the mound.
"It was one of my (better performances) for sure," said Myers. "I was hitting my spots and the slider was breaking when I wanted it to. My command was exactly where I wanted it to be. It was definitely one of my best performances."
Matters didn't get any better for the Jayhawks in the bottom of the seventh when West Virginia added three more runs to its lead. What looked like a routine throw to first ended up going behind Kansas pitcher Blake Goldsberry and allowed Cole Austin and Kyle Gray to score with two outs. One batter later, Kyle Davis ripped a double to left field that pushed the Mountaineers' lead out to 8-0.
In the bottom of the eighth West Virginia added insult to injury when Kyle Gray hit his first home run of the season with a two run shot to deep right field. The homer scored Jimmy Galusky and gave BJ Myers a 10-0 lead to work with in the top of the ninth. Kansas was able to notch a run in the inning, but Myers was again solid and put the finishing touches on his first career complete game.
The 10-1 tally gives West Virginia, who was ranked No.7 in the RPI entering the contest, its fifth win in a row and 10th win in the last 13 games. If the Mountaineers can split the final two games of the series, they will have taken four in a row (including the first three Big 12 series of the season). According to Ivan Gonzales, who went 3-for-4 with two RBI on the night, the Mountaineers' confidence is starting to peak at the right time.
"Right now we're just rolling with it and playing the way that Mountaineers play baseball."