CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Picked to finish last in the Big 12, the West Virginia baseball team now owns a piece of first place entering the final two weeks of the regular season.
Behind Ryan McBroom’s five RBIs, the Mountaineers outslugged No. 10 Oklahoma 9-6 on Sunday afternoon to win their third consecutive Big 12 series. The victory, which took place in front of 1,843 fans at Appalachian Power Park, capped a weekend in which WVU clinched a spot in the conference tournament and became a serious contender for the league title.
The Mountaineers (29-20, 11-7) also bolstered their NCAA at-large chances after beginning the week ranked No. 71 in the RPI. The Sooners (34-14, 11-7) came in sporting an RPI of 41, though they were ranked no worse than 13th in the three major polls.
“We told the guys before the game that they put themselves in a position to win this (series),” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “Mediocre teams take days off, take at bats off and take pitches off. Now that you’ve proven yourself to be capable of winning this thing, you can’t take a day off and we didn’t today.”
West Virginia won the final two games of the Oklahoma series after dropping Friday’s opener in 13 innings. In Sunday’s rubber game, McBroom’s two-run double was the crowning blow in a five-run second inning. He then belted his team-leading 10th homer in the sixth inning, a two-run shot that put WVU ahead 8-2.
After Oklahoma tightened the game with a four-run outburst in the top of the eighth, McBroom drove in Brady Wilson with a groundout to restore a 9-6 lead.
Corey Walter ended Oklahoma’s eighth-inning uprising and earned a four-out save, his first of the season.
Despite surrendering 11 hits, sophomore John Means (4-2) lasted six innings for WVU. In a 123-pitch outing, the left-hander allowed two runs while striking out five and walking one.
Sooners starter Billy Waltrip (2-3) wasn’t as fortunate, being lifted after two innings in which he was touched for six runs on five hits. Though only two of those runs were earned, Waltrip fueled WVU’s attack by walking four batters.
Oklahoma lost despite collecting 16 hits, highlighted by shortstop Jack Mayfield’s 5-for-5 performance and three RBIs. The Sooners stranded 13 runners.
Wilson, Jacob Rice, Ryan Tuntland and McBroom each had two hits for the Mountaineers, who forced a three-way tie with Oklahoma and Kansas State atop the Big 12 standings. Each team has two series remaining.
WVU returns to the home-away-from-home confines of Appalachian Power Park next weekend when TCU visits. Game 1 begins at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, with Game 2 at 4 p.m. on Saturday and Game 3 scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday.
That series will be video streamed on WVUsports.com, and the radio broadcast can be heard on certain stations within the Mountaineer Sports Network, including the flagship affiliate of Morgantown WAJR 1440 AM.