Starter Michael Grove carried a perfect game into the 8th inning before eventually settling for a shutout win, while the offense used a 14-hit attack, including a trio of homers, to secure a sixth straight victory for a program quickly climbing in the Big 12 standings. It was a showcase of what head coach Randy Mazey has often dubbed as learning to win, with the performance as dominating as any in recent conference play.
Grove allowed just the one hit, a single that broke up the perfect game with two outs in the 7th inning, while striking out 12 and walking none before leaving to a standing ovation. The right-hander faced just 25 batters, one over the minimum, and started each one with a first pitch strike. His command of the fastball was boosted by a equally sharp slider, and the 1-2 punch was too much for a Kansas team which ranked last in the Big 12 in average at .229. KU never put a runner in scoring position, and has lost the series and faces a legit threat to be swept after being outscored 18-1 over the first two games.
"He came on like a firecracker," rightfielder Kyle Davis said of the sophomore. "Numbers-wise this was his best game, but every time he goes out he has been lights out. He has been all year. He has a feel for pitching and that's why he will be a real special talent."
The Mountaineer offense, meanwhile, had six extra base hits, including the homers from Davis, Jackson Cramer and Darius Hill. Five players recorded at least two hits, with Cole Austin and Davis amassing three each. WVU scored four runs in the 4th and 5th innings, giving Grove an 8-0 cushion midway through and effectively ending any drama about the result. It was the third time in the last four games that West Virginia (19-10, 6-2) has scored at least eight runs.
"Home runs are always a huge deal," Davis said. "Getting those extra base hits and those RBI, especially for a pitcher like that who you know will close the door. Anytime we can get multiple runs on the board with the long ball it helps a lot. Huge game tomorrow. Last year we came up one spot short, and that was attributed to one game we lost. We can't ever take any game lightly. These guys are going to come out fired up. Nobody likes to get swept. We have to come with our utmost intensity."