\ Kevin Kinder

West Virginia Rallies Back on Saturday, Takes Game One 4-2

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - It took two days, but West Virginia took game one of its series against Oklahoma on Saturday afternoon.

The game got off to a somewhat frustrating start for West Virginia as the Mountaineers loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half of the first but came up empty-handed after a pair of strikeouts and a walk stranded all three runners. Neither team generated a run in the second, but both teams got their offenses going in the third.
Oklahoma plated two runs in the top half when lead-off man Cade Harris tripled to bring home Brandon Zaragoza, who was hit by a pitch. One batter later Jack Flansberg hit a sacrifice fly, bringing home Harris and extending the Sooners lead to 2-0. The Mountaineer got one back in the bottom of the third, however, when Darius Hill brought home Cole Austin on a single to right field.
West Virginia had a prime opportunity to take the lead in the fourth when it got its first two runners on base, but the ensuing batters registered a sac bunt, strike out and fly out to end the inning, meaning the Mountaineers had stranded a total of seven runners throughout the first four and trailed 2-1 entering the fifth.
In the top of the fifth B.J. Myers retired the Sooners in order, but shortly after lighting strikes caused a delay that lasted an hour and 40 minutes. When play resumed the Mountaineers went down in order, only to see lightning once again and stop play. Both teams then made the executive decision to play out the rest of the game before game two on Saturday afternoon.
Play resumed with the top of the sixth on Saturday at 2:00 p.m., as Sam Kessler took the mound for the Mountaineers. Kessler, a freshman right-hander who is becoming one of West Virginia's most reliable bullpen options, kept the Sooners at bay in the top half of the inning and set the table for West Virginia to rally in the bottom half of the sixth.
Following Kyle Davis's lead-off single, Braden Zarbnisky was hit by a pitch and shortstop Jimmy Galusky drew a walk, loading the bases with no outs. It was eerily similar to the top of the first, but on day two the Mountaineers would capitalize. Brandon White stepped up to the plate and hit into a double play but brought home Davis to tie the game at two apiece. After an Oklahoma pitching change, Kyle Gray came to the plate and hit a ball to shallow left field, bringing home a run that gave the Mountaineers a 3-2 lead.
In the eighth West Virginia added an insurance run when Cole Austin plated Jackson Cramer on an RBI single. In the top half of the ninth Braden Zarbnisky got the game's final two outs after a rocky start that saw the first two Sooners reach on singles. The win gives West Virginia its second in a row after beating Virginia Tech earlier in the week. The Mountaineers are now 25-15 on the season with a 10-6 record in conference play.

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