NORMAN, Okla. – Ray Guerrini put West Virginia in front with a fifth-inning homer and Cole Austin tacked on a grand slam as the Mountaineers won 12-7 to nix Oklahoma’s designs on a weekend sweep.
West Virginia (20-18, 6-8 Big 12) climbed into fifth place in the league standings, a half-game ahead of the Sooners (20-20-1, 6-9 Big 12), who struck for seven runs against BJ Myers in the first inning but generated nothing else.
WVU reliever Michael Grove (1-2) struck out 13 over the final 8 1/3 innings while scattering four hits and two walks.
“This one goes to Michael Grove for sure,” Mountaineers coach Randy Mazey said. “After a seven-spot, to come in and strike out 13 in the last eight innings, who knew? That’s a premium Big 12 pitcher right there.”
Down 7-2 after the first inning, West Virginia chipped away with a run in the second and two in the fourth before retaking the lead on Guerrini’s two-out shot to straightaway center. It was the catcher’s fourth homer of the season and came against reliever Keaton Hernandez (0-2), who allowed three runs in 1 2/3 innings.
“Ray has relished the role of leader on this team,” Mazey said. “He’s settled down some, he’s not as erratic at the plate, he’s not over-swinging. He’s turning into a nice mature hitter, and it’s starting to show.”
Kyle Gray’s single and two walks preceded Austin’s slam in the seventh off Austin Hansen.
No. 9 hitter Jimmy Galuski was 3-for-5, combining with Guerrini and Gray as WVU’s bottom of the order finished 7-for-14 with six runs.
Grove’s stellar pitching overcame a disastrous start by Myers, who allowed a three-run homer by Oklahoma freshman catcher Domenic DeRenzo and a two-run double by Steele Walker in the first inning. Myers threw 29 pitches and faced only nine batters, allowing seven earned runs on six hits and a walk, as his ERA jumped from 3.12 to 4.27