The West Virginia University baseball team concluded the regular season with a 9-4 loss at Texas on Sunday afternoon at Disch-Falk Field in Austin, Texas. The Mountaineers close the regular season with a 32-22 record. With a 12-12 mark in the Big 12 Conference, WVU finished in fourth place in the NCAA’s No. 1 RPI conference.Postseason play begins for the Mountaineers at the 2017 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship in Oklahoma City. The Mountaineers earned the No. 4 seed and open play on Wednesday, May 24, against fifth-seeded Baylor at 10 a.m. ET/9 a.m. CT. More information will be available on WVUsports.com.
In Sunday’s regular-season finale, the Mountaineers trailed 4-0 in the first inning, but chipped away with runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to cut the deficit to one, at 4-3. However, the Longhorns (34-20, 11-12 Big 12) responded with two runs in the sixth and three in the eighth to secure the win.
In his final regular-season game in a Mountaineer uniform, senior first baseman Jackson Cramer led the offensive charge with two solo home runs and was 3-for-3 with two RBIs and a walk. It was Cramer’s second career two-homer game and the first by a Mountaineer this season.Sophomore designated hitter Braden Zarbnisky and sophomore catcher Ivan Gonzalez both had two hits for WVU.
Texas jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning on a grand slam by Kacy Clemens. Freshman right-hander Sam Kessler relieved freshman starter Kade Strowd and got three outs while stranding a baserunner. Kessler had a strong relief appearance, allowing just one hit while striking out three with a walk in 3.0 innings.
The Mountaineers put runners on in the first three innings before getting on the board in the fourth on Cramer’s home run that landed beyond the bullpen in right field. Freshman righty Cody Wood got the ball to start the fourth, and prevented UT from answering.
West Virginia continued to chip into the deficit with another run in the fifth inning to make it 4-2. A walk and a single opened the inning before sophomore third baseman groundout out to score sophomore second baseman Kyle Gray from third.
Wood pitched a 1-2-3 fifth inning, and again the Mountaineers added a run in the sixth to make it a one-run game, at 4-3. With the bases loaded after a fielder’s choice and some creative baserunning, Gray’s sacrifice fly scored Cramer.
However, the Longhorns responded with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to extend the lead back to three, at 6-3. An RBI double scored the first two runs, and an RBI single with two outs brought home the final tally of the inning.
After a 1-2-3 seventh inning from junior righty Shane Ennis, Cramer’s second home run led off the eighth inning and brought it back to a two-run game, at 6-4.
Again though, the Longhorns answered with three runs in the eighth, one unearned, on two hits with an error. UT took a 9-4 lead into the ninth inning, and while WVU got a leadoff walk, the rally ended there.