Oklahoma athletics

Cam O’Brien launches a three-run homer in the sixth inning Saturday when West Virginia reeled off nine unanswered runs in a 9-5 comeback victory at Oklahoma.

 

NORMAN, Okla. — Back in his home state, Cam O’Brien homered and drove in a career-high five runs, sparking West Virginia’s comeback for a series-clinching 9-5 win at Oklahoma on Saturday.

The Mountaineers (19-16, 4-7) matched their season-high with 18 hits and rallied from four runs down to take two of three in the series.

“That’s what you call a character win,” said West Virginia coach Randy Mazey. “A game like that shows the character of your team. That’s the grind-it-out, relentless mentality we’ve talked about from the first day of our program.”

Ryan Tezak (2-0) picked up the victory with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, while converted starter Sean Carley earned a save in his first closing appearance, allowing one run on three hits over 2 1/3 innings.

Bobby Boyd and Brad Johnson collected four hits each for the Mountaineers, whose RPI improved from 45 to 33 during their three days in Norman.

“Anytime we can get production out of (Nos.) 6 through 9 in our lineup, we’re going to score a lot of runs.” — West Virginia coach Randy Mazey

The biggest blows were struck by O’Brien. The Tulsa native who had only seven RBIs in this season’s first 29 games, belted his second homer of the season—a three-run blast off Sooners starter Jacob Evans in the sixth inning—to pull WVU to within 4-3. The switch-hitting O’Brien was batting from the left side when he added a two-run insurance double in the ninth.

“They were throwing breaking ball after breaking ball and I just kept swinging at bad pitches,” O’Brien said. “Finally I told myself, I was going to sit on a good breaking ball and I got one. I put a good swing on it. After that first hit it was kind of a confidence booster.”

Jacob Rice, another Tulsa product, finished with three hits, including a single against Oklahoma reliever Ladd Kindle (3-2) that tied the game at 4-4 in the seventh. Johnson followed with another RBI single before pinch-hitter Jackson Cramer doubled off the center-field wall to make it 6-4.

The bottom four spots in the WVU order combined to go 8-for-18 with eight RBIs.

Oklahoma athletics

Michael Constantini (2) celebrates his first college homer, a solo shot during West Virginia’s 9-5 win at Oklahoma.

“Anytime we can get production out of (Nos.) 6 through 9 in our lineup, we’re going to score a lot of runs,” Mazey said.

After Kindle allowed three runs on four hits in one inning, followup reliever Ralph Garza Jr. struggled as well, allowing three runs over 2 1/3 innings. One of those runs came on Michael Constantini’s first career homer—a solo shot in the eighth.

“He was running the bases like a little kid, which is good to see,” Rice said.

Oklahoma (25-16, 5-7) jumped to a 4-0 lead through two innings against Corey Walter, making his first start in more than a year for West Virginia. Mac James and Hunter Haley hit back-to-back homers in the bottom of the first to build a 3-0 margin and Craig Aikin’s RBI single added another run in the second. But Walter surrendered nothing more, throwing 60 pitches before leaving after four innings.

Walter allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits with one strikeout and one walk.

“After the first inning, he settled in pretty good,” Mazey said. “That’s the best he’s pitched this year.”

Oklahoma’s Evans gave up three runs on 11 hits with four strikeouts and no walks in 5 2/3 innings.

West Virginia plays five home games next week, hosting Maryland on Tuesday and Marshall on Wednesday before Kansas State arrives for a three-game series beginning Friday.

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Comments

  • Rick55

    When you are as aggressive on the base paths as Coach Mazey is, there will be runners thrown out. He doesn't care--He's not changing his style. He has the Rickey Henderson philosophy. It's worth getting thrown out occasionally to get the good stuff. And more often than not it works out. And yes, Musgrave was obviously tiring in the 7th and 8th but he was reluctant to use the bullpen, wanted to save Carley for Saturday. Worked out great in the end and everybody should be happy that we took 2 put of 3 in the series and move on to meet greet and beat the Terps!

    • Aaron

      If you are aggressive on the base paths, you force the fielder to field the ball cleanly, make an on target throw, force the infielder to catch the ball cleanly and make a clean tag. Far too often, to much goes wrong not to be aggressive. I love the style.

      • Joe

        Aaron....non-aggressive small ball does not work. Until the big bats swing back around, Coach Mazey's tactic offensively is the right one.

        Good comments all.

        Joe

    • WVcoal

      Thank you Rick. I am happy to see that there is another, besides myself, who understands baseball and the WVU program.

  • Mister Man

    Congrats Mountaineers!!

  • Rick55

    Coach Mazey called it a character win. But then it's all about character with him isn't it? A lot of teams would have just gone away after losing two straight conference series, and never would have come back down 3-2 1 out in the 7th. Took the bull by the horns, started Walter, used Carley in relief and it all worked out great.
    David, we're hardly just starting to win now, though. Already won several huge games before OU. I like Constantini too but 1 HR does not a hitter make and and in my opinion Munden is by far the most improved hitter on this team.
    Go Mountaineers! Beat the Turtles!
    Keep those good posts coming-- keep rooting for the baseball team. They love it and this is a team worth rooting for.

  • WVcoal

    Should have been a sweep...ahhh if we only had a bullpen.

    • Mitch

      @ WVcoal,

      Wrong. The one loss to OU had nothing to do with the bullpen. Musgrave got roughed up, and there were some base-running mistakes in that one.

      • WVcoal

        @Mitch
        Wrong. If you knew anything about baseball and if you'd been following the team all year and Musgrave's performance against OK, you would know that he was struggling in the 7th inning. If WVU had any bullpen whatsoever, they would've gone to it. However, with no bullpen Musgrave went back out in the 8th and got rocked for a HR.

  • David Kennedy

    Great Defense has brought the bats out of the slump. Both wins were great morale wins.
    I can feel the 'blood lust in the pitching staff...and the 'will to win has showed itself, too.
    Most improved? Constantini...the batting practice showed!
    Must applaud Max Nogay, too. There is more to this game that the big slugs....making it possible for a team-mate to score is a great part of it too.
    What is lacking?
    Getting that one 'Big Gun hitting again...
    His time is coming and it will be
    Big Time Hitting this time around.
    A really Great Season of winning games is finally underway!

    • bill

      I agree with everything David said, great victory.