WACO, Texas — Cole Austin’s fourth hit brought in the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth as West Virginia beat No. 10 Baylor 6-5 on Saturday to clinch the weekend series.
Braden Zarbnisky (2-0) allowed one hit over the final two innings for the Mountaineers, who improved to 10-7 overall, 2-0 in the Big 12. Catcher Chase Illig picked off a runner at second base in the ninth inning to squash Baylor’s final threat.
Game 3 is Sunday.
Austin’s two-out, bases-loaded single to center off Kyle Hill (2-1) made the difference.
“All the games we play early in the season on the road kind of hardens you a little bit,” West Virginia coach Randy Mazey said. “It toughens your team up a little bit. We lost some of those games, but that’s experience nonetheless. Playing in a lot of tight games late as the road team and you just learn how to win them.
West Virginia took a 3-0 lead in the second on an RBI single by Illig and a two-run triple by Kyle Gray.
Mountaineers sophomore right-hander Michael Grove was lifted after five innings and 83 pitches, allowing two unearned runs on three hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
West Virginia rebuilt the lead to 5-2 on Hill’s RBI single in the fifth and Gray’s two-out doubled in the sixth.
That was all for Baylor starter Montana Parsons, who allowed 10 hits and five earned runs.
After cutting the gap to 5-4 when Kameron Esthay hit a two-run homer off Isaiah Kearns in the sixth, Baylor tied it in the seventh. With the bases loaded and one out, Jackson Sigman relieved Kearns and induced a ground ball, but WVU couldn’t turn the double play.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, a Baylor baserunner reached second base with one out, but he was picked off, Illig to Galusky, and Zarbnisky got a strikeout for the game’s final out.