STILLWATER, Okla. — West Virginia squandered its big chance to hurt Tyler Nurdin in the top of the fifth, and the Oklahoma State lefty didn’t give WVU another.
Energized after he escaped a one-out, bases-loaded jam, Nurdin went on to complete a four-hit shutout as the Cowboys clinched the seres and dealt WVU its fifth straight loss, 5-0, on Friday night.
The Mountaineers, who entered last weekend tied for the Big 12 lead and authoring one of college baseball’s feel-good turnarounds, have currently dipped into fifth place. They close the regular season Saturday hoping to avoid being swept in a league series for the first time this spring.
“The pride and the name on the front of the jersey is going to show up tomorrow,” said West Virginia coach Randy Mazey, whose team has been outscored 41-19 during its longest skid of the season.”We’ll see what kind of fight these guys have got in them.”
Nurdin (4-2) seemed vulnerable in the fifth after WVU used three straight singles to fill the bases. But Bobby Boyd’s liner was caught by OSU second baseman Donnie Walton for the second out and Brady Wilson grounded to Walton to end the threat.
“It’s hard to rattle us,” Nurdin said. “They get those three guys on, and I’m thinking I’m just one pitch away from getting out of the inning. It’s an easy mindset when you’re one pitch away.”
Oklahoma State countered with all five of its runs in the bottom half of the fifth, chasing WVU starter John Means (4-4), who fueled the inning by walking two batters and throwing wildly to first on a bunt attempt.
“The game’s all about pitching and defense, and we didn’t do either,” Mazey said.
After Means’ error put runners on first and second, Aaron Cornell’s RBI single made it 1-0 and Tanner Krietemeier followed with a sac squeeze.
Randy McCurry’s double stretched the led to 3-0 and ended Means’ night. In came Corey Walter, who walked two more batters in the inning and surrendered a two-run single to Walton. A throwing error by tWVU hire baseman Ryan Tuntland also factored in the outburst.
WVU walked eight batters and committed four errors on the night.
“They don’t need to get hits when you do that,” said Mazey, disappointed his team didn’t conduct better damage control in the fifth. Means was pulled after 4 1/3 innings, allowing four runs (two o them earned) on three hits and three walks.
“We talk about confidence all the time as a team and how important it is to have. Confidence is easy to have when things are going well, but get into an inning like that, and it’s when you need it. If it was easy to do that, to find a way to stop the bleeding, we would dang sure teach it.”
Given a cushion, Nurdin faced the minimum 12 batters one the final you innings. He closed the night with seven strikeouts and only one walk.
“(Nurdin) was pretty darn good,” said Cowboys coah Josh Holliday. “That’s the second time he’s rolled an entire game. It was a muggy, hot night to pitch, and I think (WVU) is a very good team. They’re a dangerous offensive team — they’re strong and they’re very competitive and they kept coming the whole time.
“But Tyler made pitches, and what more can you say? I’m so proud of him and happy. What he’s done is really give our team what we needed in the rotation. He’s a really dependable guy we can turn to that gives us an opportunity to win.”