The Times West Virginian

Sports

May 18, 2014

WVU baseball drops seventh straight

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University’s regular season came to an end with the loud thud of a seven-game losing streak, the final indignity heaped upon them by Texas Tech, 4-0, at Rip Griffin Park.

The Mountaineers, who seemed to have an at-large spot all but clinched in the NCAA regional tournament before the season-ending disaster of sweeps at Kansas and Texas Tech around a loss at Maryland, finish the year with a 27-24 record and 9-14 mark in Big 12 play.

That, though, is over, and there remains hope still to advance into the NCAA tournament as WVU opens play in the Big 12 Tournament at 10 a.m. on Wednesday against … the Kansas team that started all this grief.

Coach Randy Mazey is calling it “the second season.”

The Mountaineers started the season off with a difficult schedule, playing only one true home game in the first half.

After suffering through a seven-game losing streak that seemed to eliminate them from any post-season consideration, they fought back, straightening out their bullpen, discovering Ross Vance for the rotation and going on a torrid streak at the plate.

They looked unbeatable, but it all came apart during a seven-game road trip to end the year.

Mazey now wants to put that behind his team.

“We lost a lot. It’s time to win a lot again,” he told his team.

This was truly a lost weekend with two walk-off losses and then a shutout to end the season.

“They pitched better than any team we faced this year,” Mazey said. “And when we were hitting, our line drives were going in the gaps. Now they are right at the outfielders.”

West Virginia had only seven hits — two each from senior Michael Constatini and junior Brad Johnson against undefeated Texas Tech starter Dylan Dusek, who ran his record to 6-0 with 6.2 shutout innings allowing five hits. He struck out only one and walked three.

John Means was the hard-luck loser, working 6.1 innings and giving up four runs on 10 hits with two strikeouts and two walks. He finished the regular season at 6-2.

Adam Kirsch gave Texas Tech the only run it would need with a home run leading off the second inning for a 1-0 lead. He had also homered on Saturday.

Kirsch was in the middle of everything, really, as he scored on a sacrifice fly by Tim Proudfoot in the fourth inning and scored a third run in the bottom of the sixth on Proudfoot’s double.

The final run came on a seventh-inning triple by Bryant Burleson followed by Tyler Neslony’s RBI single.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

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