NORMAN, Okla. – In the second game of a doubleheader, the West Virginia University baseball team lost to Oklahoma, 2-1, on Saturday night to conclude the opening weekend of Big 12 Conference play.
The Mountaineers (9-12, 0-3 Big 12) were held to one run on four hits, while WVU limited the Sooners (17-9, 3-0 Big 12) to two runs on seven hits.
West Virginia suffered a weekend series sweep for the first time since March 18-20, 2016, in a three-game series at No. 7 TCU.
Junior right fielder Darius Hill had two hits, while sophomore center fielder Brandon White drove in the Mountaineers’ run on Saturday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
Sophomore right-handed starter Kade Strowd allowed two runs on four hits in 5.0 innings. He struck out four and walked two while making his fifth start of the year. Sophomore righty Sam Kessler relieved Strowd in the sixth and pitched 2.0 scoreless innings, allowing two hits with a pair of strikeouts.
Kessler continues his season-opening scoreless streak and has not allowed a run in 8.2 innings and nine appearances to begin the year.
Oklahoma took a 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI groundout before Strowd got a strikeout to end the inning and strand a runner. OU left another on in the second and two in the third before the Mountaineers got their first hit in the fourth, thanks to Hill’s two-out single.
A 1-2-3 fourth inning followed for Strowd, and he worked around an error in the fifth that allowed the leadoff runner to reach.
In the sixth, the Mountaineers tied it at 1-1. Junior second baseman Kyle Gray led off the inning with a double and was sacrificed to third. White then drove him home with a single through the left side.
OU answered in the bottom of the sixth though, with a run on two hits to regain a 2-1 lead. Kessler relieved Strowd, coming in to face the leadoff hitter and inheriting a 2-0 count. A walk put the leadoff man on, and a single scored him after a sacrifice bunt. Kessler gave up a two-out infield single to load the bases, but got a flyout to end the inning while leaving three on.
Both teams stranded a runner on in the seventh, and senior right-hander Shane Ennis pitched a scoreless eighth while stranding two.
In the ninth, Hill doubled with two outs to put the tying run on. Oklahoma brought in its closer, Connor Berry, who got a strikeout to end the game.
The Mountaineers return home to host the Backyard Brawl against rival Pitt on Tuesday, March 27, at 6:30 p.m. ET, at Monongalia County Ballpark. The first 200 fans will receive a free fleece blanket, and all fans can play Baseball Bingo.
NOTES: WVU is 9-12 on the season, 0-3 in Big 12 play and 6-9 on the road … Sam Kessler pitched a scoreless 2.0 innings in relief, and has not allowed a run on just four hits in 8.2 innings to start the 2018 season … Kade Strowd made his fifth start of the season and allowed two runs on four hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 5.0 innings … He suffered the loss, his third of the year.
Press Release Courtesy- Charlie Healy- WVUsports.com
Photo Credit:Jeff Ruff, BGS