The West Virginia Mountaineers faltered early in the Big 12 Baseball Tournament and struggled with their pitching in back to back losses which eliminated the Mountaineers. Wednesday evening the Mountaineers (33-21) took on the Oklahoma Sooners (34-20) and the Sooners got things started in the second inning with a 5-run inning that ultimately proved to be too much for West Virginia.
Starter Jacob Watters (3-7), struggled, only lasting two innings before giving way to Carlson Reed. The duo of Reed and Zach Ottinger kept the Mountaineers in the game, pitching 6 innings of one-run ball, but the early deficit proved to be too much for the Mountaineers, who didn’t score until the eighth inning when it was 6-0. Three runs in the ninth inning made it close as the Mountaineers fell 6-4.
That theme of early run deficits continued yesterday as the Kansas State Wildcats put up 3 runs in the first two innings on starter Ben Hampton (8-5), before the Mountaineers clawed back into the game with three runs in the third inning. Hampton would finish the day going 5 innings and giving up 4 runs, but the bullpen trio of Noah Short, Chase Smith and Trey Braithwaite could not contain the Wildcats as each reliever gave up runs. Ultimately that onslaught of offense downed the Mountaineers 8-5 in the elimination game of the tournament and now the Mountaineers find themselves waiting.
The latest projections of the College Baseball World Series Tournament has West Virginia in good position. Baseball America predicts the Mountaineers to be the 3-seed in the Louisville regional. That regional would see the Mountaineers face #1 Louisville Cardinals, #2 Vanderbilt Commodores and #4 Wright State.
Given where the Mountaineers are slated in both projections, the quick exit from the Big 12 Tournament shouldn’t hurt WVU’s chances, though it likely makes their path to a super regional and World Series that much tougher. The selections will be aired live on Monday May 30th at 12 PM on ESPN2.