MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia coach Randy Mazey displayed a quick hook Sunday, yanking starter Michael Bennett just four batters and 11 pitches into the game. Only it wasn’t quick enough.

Bennett’s 1/3 of an inning included a single and two four-pitch walks that sparked No. 18 Oklahoma State to four early runs. That proved too big a deficit for the free-falling Mountaineers, who failed on several chances to catch up and lost their seventh straight, 7-4.

The Cowboys (26-10, 8-4) accomplished their first Big 12 road sweep since 2012 despite being out-hit 12-10 by West Virginia (16-15, 2-6), which remained a half-game ahead of last-place Kansas State in the league.

The Mountaineers, playing before 1,287 fans at Hawley Field, suffered back-to-back conference sweeps for the first time since 2010 in the Big East.

Bennett (2-3), pressed into his second start of the season because of John Means’ sore shoulder, allowed a lead-off single to Saulyer Saxon followed by a sac bunt. When the right-hander’s next eight pitches missed the plate, the bases were jammed and Mazey was peeved.

“I’ve been known as a patient guy, but there’s only so much you can take,” Mazey said. “You just can’t hand them runs.”

On came reliever Zach Bargeron, who didn’t fare much better. He hit Gage Green to force in one run and balked home another before Zach Fish bounced a two-run single up the middle to make it 4-0.

“(The losing streak) has been really tough … but one win and we’ll be out of it.” — WVU center fielder Bobby Boyd

After the Cowboys left the bases full—among the 14 runners they stranded—West Virginia’s first five hitters reached safely against Oklahoma State starter Tyler Nurdin. Ryan McBroom’s RBI single and Jacob Rice’s bases-loaded walk cut the gap to 4-2 with none out before Nurdin stopped the bleeding. Max Nogay’s grounder to third led to a force at home, and then McBroom was cut down trying to tag on Brad Johnson’s fly ball to medium right field.

“We out-hit them and our at-bats were good,” Mazey said. “We’re just in a spell right now where we’re not getting hits with two outs.”

The Mountaineers wound up stranding nine, including two runners in scoring position in the second inning after Billy Fleming’s RBI double made it 4-3. McBroom, the team’s top run-producer, grounded out to third against reliever Vance Wheeland (3-0), who replaced Nurdin after 1 2/3 innings.

McBroom finished with three hits, while Bobby Boyd was 4-for-5. Both endured painful plays that only added to the misery of the losing skid: Boyd took a foul liner off his knee as he led off from third base, and McBroom banged his leg on a bench in the right-field bullpen while chasing a pop-foul that dropped into the temporary bleachers.

“(The losing streak) has been really tough … but one win and we’ll be out of it,” said Boyd, who’s hitting a team-best .364. “I think things will start turning around.”

Wheeland earned the victory for OSU, allowing one unearned run over 6 1/3 innings. Brendan McCurry pitched the final inning for his ninth save of the season and the 17th of his career, matching the Cowboys’ all-time mark.

“Vinnie Wheeland came in and did what he does—he fired strikes, he got out of a couple of jams and he competed extremely well,” OSU coach Josh Holliday said. “Our bullpen has proven to be a trademark for us to this point.”

If there was a positive glimmer for WVU’s beleaguered bullpen, it was a 103-pitch stint by Ryan Tezak, who held OSU to two runs on five hits over six innings.

“It was a tough weekend—there’s three or four big innings that killed us,” Tezak said. “(Oklahoma State’s) a tough ballclub. We’re not playing very well right now and they are, but we still think we can win a bunch of ballgames coming up.”

West Virginia, whose RPI had risen to No. 11 just nine days ago, closed Sunday at No. 45.

Next up, the Mountaineers host Ohio State (21-15) on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

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  • Rick55

    May be, Mister Man, may be. Most of these guys have done a decent job in the past, we know they are capable of throwing strikes, and while its possible for pitchers to go through a period of missing the plate, it really doesn't happen to often. So it may be that they're just trying to be too fine.

  • Mister Man

    Perhaps, and I'm not an expert, our relievers should go after the batters instead of trying to finesse them. Throw strikes and let the fielders make plays. Have some faith in their teammates to make plays.

  • Mister Man

    Actually, their jerseys look like good Hawaiian shirts.

  • AR15Razor

    Man.......Those jerseys look like a bad Hawaiian shirt.

  • Rick55

    Here's where we are at this point in the season:
    1) starting pitching: three really good pitchers here but one is injured
    2) relief pitching: inconsistent at times and really poor at other times can't throw strikes lately
    3) defense: improved over last year
    4) offense: two really good hitters
    Hope? Means returns strong. Need the bullpen to start finding a way to put the ball over the plate. Need more contributions from guys other than McBroom and Boyd.

  • jay zoom

    LETS FACE IT FANS we have two winners at WVU -- womens basketball and the rifle team. as for the rest of the major sport teams you got ONE AND DONE Huggins and wait until next year Holgerson. the BIG 12 Conference as long as WVU is affiliated with it we will be on the outside looking in for quite sometime. As far as baseball is concerned I wonder if OLLIE is meeting with Mazey today. but you have to remember the bright side -- THE CASH WILL BE COMING that's all that OLLIE cares about.

  • David Kennedy

    Pitching the 3 best pitchers and having them throw over 100 balls is quite smart...getting them in shape for the long run...Ok, we now have 3 strong pitchers.
    Max Nogay looks like a slammer to me.
    If I was a batting coach I would work him at least 2 hours a day until he could hit the ball with his eyes closed.

  • Aaron

    Baseball is a true team sport that takes time to build with a quality pitching staff the hardest to build.

  • William

    How sad is WVU sports since Ollie Luck became AD?
    Football - terrible coach for many reasons!
    Basketball-terrible coach for many reasons!
    AD - has made many terrible decisions!
    Why would WVU fans support these three?
    I will never spend a dime on WVU sports till these bad apples are GONE!
    It's a sad time to be a Mountaineer fan wherever you may be.

    • Chris

      This has to be one of the most clueless responses I have ever seen.. First off coming on here bashing an AD and a coach is comical.. Blaming a coach in football that has not even had a full scholarship team till this season.. One that took over with very low scholarship numbers to work with and you expect them to win in the big 12?? This is reality.. The last 2 years, the football team has been playing with VERY SMALL SENIOR CLASSES when it comes to scholarship numbers.. Furthermore, this staff has now had 3 full recruiting classes and there has been VERY LITTLE attrition here.. These guys just have to mature and develop.. Took Art Briles at Baylor 6 years to build it to where he wanted it and he too had 2 losing seasons to speak of.. This is what happens when you take over a program with 55-65 scholarship athletes after the 2011 season.. As for the AD, he has brought us to a league where we will be getting over 30 million dollars in TV revenue from the Big 12.. The athletic department is going to be financially secure for years and years to come.. Im just going to stop there..

      • Mister Man


        • Mister Man

          I, also, agree with Chris.

      • Rick S.

        In all fairness, Art Briles took over a Baylor program that was one of the worst football programs in the country. Before Briles, Baylor had losing records for 12 consecutive years, averaging three wins per season over that time. Briles has a done a tremendous job.

        In contrast, Dana Holgerson took over a program coming off nine consecutive winning seasons and that was regularly ranked in the top 25.

        Art Briles turned Baylor from a doormat into a winner. Dana Holgorsen, well ... that story is still being written.

        • Aaron

          While I'm not sold on Holgorsen, the comparison is not accurate. Briles is recruiting within a region he was well known before, in what is essentially the same conference and is recruiting those player to a private school close to home. And even with that, on one knows what would have happened if Mack Brown had recruited RG3 as a QB instead of as an athlete.

          That's not the biggest reason your comparison is not valid though. The biggest reason is that despite the record prior to Holgorsen, the cupboards were bare at WVU. With the talent recruited to WVU, I'm not sure they could have won the Big East, much less compete in the Big 12.

          WVU is improving in the recruiting department, no one can deny that fact. Now they must improve on the field or it's time to find a new coach.

      • Allen

        I'm with Chris on this one.