STILLWATER, Okla. —
The West Virginia University baseball team guaranteed itself a Top 4 finish in the Big 12 Conference standings with a 5-4 victory at No. 16 Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium.
The Mountaineers finished the regular season with an overall record of 31-25 and 13-11 in Big 12 play. WVU will either finish third or fourth in the conference based on results of the Oklahoma-Kansas State series. With a third-place finish the Mountaineers will face Kansas State in the conference tournament opener, while they will play Baylor with a fourth-place finish.
“We talked about playing for pride, the Mountaineers and the name on the front of the jersey,” coach Randy Mazey said. “The guys came out with a little bit of fight in them today and I think that showed.”
A fielder’s choice by sophomore second baseman Billy Fleming gave WVU the go-ahead run in the sixth inning as he drove in junior left fielder Jacob Rice to put the Mountaineers ahead 3-2.
Rice finished with one hit, one run and two RBIs, while sophomore center fielder Bobby Boyd batted 2-for-4 with three runs. Senior right fielder Brady Wilson, junior third baseman Ryan Tuntland and junior shortstop Michael Constantini added two hits apiece.
Junior right-hander Ryan Tezak (4-0) picked up the win in 4.1 innings of relief. Tezak allowed two runs on four hits with six strikeouts and two walks. Junior right-hander Pascal Paul picked up his eighth save of the year, retiring the final batter of the game.
“Today he (Tezak) had some fastball command,” Mazey says. “He was pitching away, he was pitching in and he wasn’t pitching in the middle of the plate until we got the three-run lead and I told him to pitch in the middle of the plate.”
In his first career Big 12 start, freshman righty Brock Dykxhoorn gave up two runs, one earned, on five hits with four strikeouts in a no-decision.
Adding important insurance runs was redshirt junior designated hitter Matt Frazer and Boyd. Frazer homered to left field in the eighth inning, his seventh of the season, while Boyd scored on a Tuntland single to center field in the ninth inning.
The Cowboys attempted to mount a comeback in the bottom of the ninth, but could not score the game-tying run as Tanner Krietemeier and Randy McCurry hit back-to-back solo homers with two outs to bring the score to 5-4.
WVU scored the first run of the game for the first time in the series as each team plated one run in the first inning. Boyd led off the game with a single through the right side, and then used his speed to score. Boyd stole second, moved to third on a ground out and scored on a sacrifice fly to shallow right field by Rice.
Oklahoma State’s Saulyer Saxon was hit by a pitch to lead off the bottom of the first and eventually tied the game at 1-1 on a single to center field by McCurry.
Boyd scored his second run of the game on Rice’s second RBI of the afternoon as a ground out to second base plated Boyd to give WVU a 2-1 lead in the third inning.
The Cowboys came back again in the bottom of the fifth, loading the bases with no outs. Tezak entered the game for WVU and walked in the tying run before getting out of the jam.
McCurry, Gage Green and Rick Stover each had two hits for Oklahoma State, while Mark Robinette (5-1) was dealt his first loss of the season.
The Mountaineers now head to the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Oklahoma City, Okla., beginning on Wednesday, at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark.