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Mountaineers Lose on Walkoff in Big 12 Opener

The Baylor Bears mounted a strong comeback in the late innings as they walked off the Mountaineers to start Big XII play.

Marques Inman
John Lowe/The Daily Athenaeum

Baylor Bears: 6

West Virginia Mountaineers: 5

West Virginia (13-8) (0-1) dropped their Big XII opener to Baylor (14-6) (1-0) on Friday night on a walkoff single to center field.

Baylor 3rd baseman Davis Wendzel hit a sharp single up the middle that allowed shortstop Nick Loftin to scoot in from 2nd, narrowly beating a throw by Brandon White to win the game on a walkoff. Closer Sam Kessler (1-1) was charged with the loss after allowing the game-winning run.

WVU ace Alek Manoah (3-1, 2.97 ERA) threw the ball well in his 5th start of the year, but got touched up more than he’s used to. However, his long outing allowed Coach Mazey to save the bullpen for a long weekend ahead, something that won’t show up in the stat sheet, but is important, nonetheless. In 7.1 innings, Manoah gave up 8 hits, 2 walks and 5 runs on 6 strikeouts. He threw a season-high 110 pitches and got a no-decision in the process.

WVU 1st baseman Marques Inman had himself a career day on Friday, tallying 5 RBI’s in a 3-for-4 performance.

In the top of the 1st, Inman crushed a 2-run homer, his 4th of the season, to deep left field and put the Mountaineers on the board early 2-0. The Bears answered right back in the bottom of the frame, tying the game on a RBI groundout by DH Andy Thomas.

Baylor took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the 2nd, after Loftin hit a sacrifice fly to left field, allowing a man to run home from 3rd, giving the Bears a 3-2 lead. Manoah was able to get the game under control after this inning, though, as he threw 4 straight shutout innings.

WVU reclaimed the lead in the top of the 5th, when Inman stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded and 2 outs. He hit a bases-clearing double to right center field that allowed White, Tevin Tucker and Ivan Gonzalez to all score, putting the Mountaineers back up 5-3.

BU pulled back within a run in the bottom of the 7th, as Wendzel hit a sacrifice fly to right field, allowing a runner to come home and make the score 5-4 WVU. However, the Bears tied the game the very next inning on a RBI single by 2nd baseman Josh Bissonette.

After WVU got White on to lead off the top of the 9th and advanced him into scoring position with just 1 out on a sacrifice bunt by Tucker, the Mountaineers weren’t able to manufacture a run and put the pressure on Kessler to turn in a scoreless bottom half of the inning.

Unfortunately, Baylor got a leadoff single of their own from Loftin, who advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by CF Richard Cunningham. The very next batter, the dangerous Wendzel, brought home Loftin to walk off the Mountaineers on Friday night.

The Mountaineers and Bears will play their 2nd game of the series tomorrow at 2:05PM. The game was moved up from the original 4:05 start time because of inclement weather expected in the Waco, Texas area on Saturday evening. Jackson Wolf will look to lead the Mountaineers to a win on Saturday, forcing a rubber match in the Sunday finale.