CHARLESTON, W.Va. — TCU mashed two homers and eight doubles in a 16-6 rout that likely mashed West Virginia’s chances of a Big 12 title.
“They abused our pitching pretty good today,” said West Virginia coach Randy Mazey after Sunday’s loss. “It goes back to Pitching 101. We threw a lot of balls that were belt-high, and that’s why you teach pitchers to pitch on the knees.”
The setback in the series rubber game left West Virginia (30-22, 12-9) tied with Oklahoma for second place in the conference, two games back of Kansas State entering the regular season’s final week.
TCU (25-25, 10-11) established single-game season-highs for runs and hits (18). But for all the gappers and line drives the Horned Frogs hit, it was a routine fly ball that put them ahead in the fifth.
With the score tied at 4-all, WVU starter John Means (4-3) appeared to get out of danger when TCU’s Derek Odell lifted a two-out pitch into center field. But when Bobby Boyd mistakenly broke in, the ball carried over his head for two-run double.
Upon hitting the next batter, Means’ day was finished after 4 2/3 innings. The sophomore left-hander allowed six runs on eight hits, including a tying two-homer to Paul Hendrix in the third.
“Means was a little bit up in the zone today, and the wind was blowing out and the balls were carrying,” Mazey said.
TCU continued the onslaught against West Virginia’s bullpen, lighting up Corey Walter for five runs (three earned) in 1 2/3 innings and getting to Pascal Paul for two more runs in 1 1/3. Corey Holmes was the next victim allow three runs in the eighth inning, including a two-run homer to right-center by Kevin Cron.
At the outset, it was WVU that appeared to be in line for monstrous offensive day. The Mountaineers chased TCU starter Mitchell Andrew with four runs in the first inning, highlighted by Ryan McBroom’s two-run double.
But Frogs freshman Alex Young (6-4) minimized WVU with 6 2/3 innings of one-run relief.
West Virginia finished with 11 hits, led by Jacob Rice’s 3-for-5 day. Brady Wilson, Billy Fleming and Brady Wilson collected two hits each.
The Mountaineers took batting practice in their usual home white jerseys, before changing into the gold-and-blue camouflage tops moments before the game. One of the camo tops had hung in the dugout all season, to be worn only as a reward for making the Big 12 tournament, which WVU clinched last week.
The retina-scarring jerseys became the subject of numerous tweets by national columnists and bloggers.
“I heard they were blowing up all over Twitter and that not a lot of people really liked them, but I like them,” Wilson said. “When we first started out the game (ahead 4-1), we said we’ve got to wear these some more, but I guess we spoke too soon.”
Last Sunday, Oklahoma exited Appalachian Power Park without the customary post-series handshakes. This week the scene was far more congenial as every TCU player hugged Mazey, who was a member of the Frogs’ coaching staff the past six seasons.
Mazey’s young son Weston also held court with a huddle TCU players near home plate after the game. The thigh-high kid, now a batboy for WVU, held the same job for the Frogs last year.