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West Virginia Falls, But Stays Ranked After TCU Series

A tough series against a down, but still good Horned Frog team saw the Mountaineers fall in this week’s rankings

Geoff Coyle/WV Illustrated

It was a tough weekend for the West Virginia Mountaineers as they dropped two of three from the TCU Horned Frogs. The Mountaineers ace, Alek Manoah, was not his typical, sharp self on Friday, allowing 5 runs (4 earned) on 8 hits while only striking out 5. The Horned Frogs chased Manoah out in the 7th inning when Johnny Rizer homered to centerfield. The Frogs ignited as Manoah left, scoring 10 runs in the inning to take a competitive game to a laugher.

Saturday’s noon game wasn’t much better as the Mountaineers’ bats fell cold against Charles King. King, who pitched a complete game, allowed one unearned run when Ivan Gonzalez reached on a throwing error in the 7th and later scored on a ground out.

Thankfully the Mountaineers were able to salvage the home series with another 9th-inning come-from-behind victory. The Mountaineers trailed 5-4 in the ninth inning when Darius Hill came to bat. Hill worked the count full before lifting a two-run shot to right center that gave the Mountaineers a 6-5 victory.

D1Baseball released their rankings and have the Mountaineers at number 22 this week. West Virginia is one of four ranked Big 12 teams. The Mountaineers took 2 of 3 from both #18 Oklahoma State and #10 Texas Tech. The #14 Baylor Bears swept the Mountaineers in the opening Big 12 series of the season.

Baseball America has the Mountaineers at #21.

The Mountaineers stumbled for the first time in six weeks with a series loss to TCU. Righthander Alek Manoah, who has been the best pitcher in college baseball during WVU’s run, struggled in Friday’s loss, and the lineup simply wasn’t able to solve TCU righthander Charles King on Saturday. The Horned Frogs nearly pulled off the sweep, but the Mountaineers fought back Sunday to salvage a game. Down 5-3 heading to the bottom of the ninth, WVU got one run back on a solo homer from pinch hitter Kyle Brophy, and then walked off with the win thanks to a two-run bomb off the bat of right fielder Darius Hill.

West Virginia will travel to Blacksburg to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies on Wednesday before leaving for Manhattan, Kansas for their final Big 12 series of the year. Weather on Wednesday is going to be perfect baseball weather while this weekend will be cooler with a threat of rain on Saturday.