For the second weekend in a row West Virginia found itself on the wrong end of a Sunday rubber match. However this one may sting a little more than last weekend's loss to Kansas State because the Mountaineers rallied and got a strong bullpen performance from Ryan McDonald to force extra innings.
After OU jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead in the second, starting pitcher Kade Strowd calmed down and kept the Sooners at bay for the next two and two-thirds innings. Jackson Sigman, a senior side winder from Austin, TX., took the mound and got the final out of the fifth inning before allowing a home run to Sooner DH Brylie Ware on the first at-bat of the sixth. After Sigman retired the next two batters Randy Mazey decided to go with freshman Ryan McDonald, who struggled in his last appearance vs. TCU. McDonald was able to force a ground out and get the Mountaineers to the bottom half of the sixth down 4-0.
And that's when the rally began. Until the bottom half of the sixth it seemed as if the Mountaineers were dead in the water as they struggled to get anything going against Sooner starter Devon Perez. But as the old adage goes, a baseball game can change with the swing of a bat - and it did. After Ivan Gonzales singled to shallow center, Jackson Cramer stepped to the plate and belted a home run that landed in the West Virginia bullpen in deep right field. Prior to the two run homer, Cramer had just one hit in his previous 23 at-bats.
In the seventh the Mountaineers got another pair of runs after a pair of singles and a fielding error by pitcher JB Olson loaded the bases. Brandon White grounded in a run to cut the score to 4-3 and a batter later Kyle Gray singled home the game tying run. Meanwhile, McDonald looked solid in relief and kept OU batters guessing. McDonald retired the Sooners in order in the 8th and pitched into the ninth before being replaced by Braden Zarbnisky.
In the ninth inning each team got runners by third but came up empty-handed; for OU it was pinch runner Kyler Murray, for West Virginia it was lead-off hitter Braden Zarbnisky. The scoreless inning forced extras and that's when things went sour.
After lead off hitter Renae Martinez walked, center fielder TJ Lake (who pinch hit for Brandon White in the bottom of the ninth) lost track of a ball and allowed the Sooners to put runners on first and second with no outs. The error would prove to be costly as Zarbnisky hit the next batter, loading the bases with one out. Ben Hollas then hit a liner to third base that scored a run before a single and a sacrifice fly extended the lead to 7-4.
West Virginia went down in order in the bottom half of the 10th to close out the game. The Mountaineers have now dropped back-to-back Big 12 series and will look to bounce back against Eastern Michigan on Tuesday evening.