\ Kevin Kinder

West Virginia Manages Just Two Hits In One-Run Defeat

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Erickson Lanning and Jacob Patterson combined for a two-hit shutout as No. 4 Texas Tech beat West Virginia 1-0 in the opening game of a doubleheader here Saturday.

The Mountaineers hit just eight balls out of the infield and managed just a single hit by Darius Hill and Braden Zarbnisky in being shutout for the first time since a 6-0 loss at Tulane on March 4. The two hits were the fewest of the season for WVU, which moved one runner to third in the second inning, but otherwise never threatened.

The lack of offense spoiled a quality start by Kade Strowd, who pitched 4.1 innings, scattering four hits and allowing the deciding run. Sam Kessler and Cody Wood combined for 5.2 shutout innings of relief, and kept the struggling offense in the game, but the final seven WVU batters went down in order.

Lanning (3-1) was excellent in the start, allowing two hits with a strikeout and two walks while facing just three over the minimum of 18. Patterson threw the final three frames, allowing no hits and striking out four in a dominating closer performance for his first save of the season.

Tech broke the scoreless tie in the fifth inning, getting a one-out triple when Hill misjudged Cody Farhat's lined shot to right field. Hill failed to make a diving catch, and the ball rolled to the wall, allowing Farhat two extra bases. That chased Strowd before leadoff hitter Grant Little then doubled home the game's first run off Kessler.

Hill could have limited Farhat to an easy single, and likely should never have attempted to make the play with the top of the order upcoming and Strowd handling the Tech line-up twice through. The triple, Farhat's team-best fifth of the season, finished the outing after 4.1 innings by Strowd. He allowed four hits and the lone run, with four strikeouts and a walk on 66 pitches. The triple was the lone extra base hit he allowed, and the single run lowered his ERA from 4.80 to 4.46.

The loss dropped the Mountaineers (26-18, 10-9) two games behind Tech (38-12, 12-7) for second place in the Big 12. WVU fell one spot in the RPI, from 11th to 12th. The game was originally scheduled for Friday evening, but was rained out. Game two will begin at 7:15 p.m.

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