AUSTIN, Texas — Alek Manoah provided another solid start, but No. 17 West Virginia needed some clutch power to take the series opener against Texas on Friday night.
After pinch-hitter T.J. Lake’s two-run homer in the eighth inning, Marques Inman ripped a tiebreaking solo shot in the ninth that propelled the Mountaineers to a 3-2 win.
Inman’s seventh homer of the season kept West Virginia (25-14, 9-7) squarely in the Big 12 chase, 1 1/2 games off the lead. It dealt another tough blow to Texas (24-20, 5-10), which has lost five straight games and fell into a last-place tie with Kansas.
Longhorns starter Bryce Elder’s 13 strikeouts were the most by a Texas pitcher since 2010, and he carried a no-hitter into the seventh before a two-out single by Inman.
“That’s a huge win,” said West Virginia coach Randy Mazey, whose team was outhit 9-3. “Most of the night their pitcher was dominating our hitters.”
Manoah showed his human side, yielding a run for the first time in 34 1/3 innings. He committed two balks, issued his first walks in four starts and yielded seven hits over seven innings. But the 6-foot-5 right-hander limited the damage with eight strikeouts and left with a 2-1 lead after Lake’s go-ahead shot off Elder in the eighth.
It was the second homer of the year for Lake, who came in hitting .195.
“T.J. Lake, that may be the biggest hit of the season for us,” Mazey said. “We’re finding ways to win games without throwing a lot of hits on the board.”
The Longhorns tied it in the bottom of the eighth when Ryan Reynolds hit an RBI single against WVU closer Sam Kessler (4-2).
But Inman capitalized on a hanging breaking pitch from Texas reliever Matteo Bocchi (2-2) in the ninth.
Texas broke through in the third on Eric Kennedy’s two-out double and Austin Todd’s RBI single to left — the first run Manoah allowed since March 29.
The Longhorns missed a chance in the second inning when Zach Zubia walked and took second but failed to score on Tate Shaw’s double. The relay throws from right fielder Darius Hill and first baseman Inman cut down Zubia at the plate, mitigating Manoah’s first walk in 28 1/3 innings,
Elder retired the first 17 West Virginia batters before walking Tevin Tucker.
Paul McIntosh prevented a Texas run in the seventh, crashing into the wall in left-center to catch Masen Hibbeler’s drive.
West Virginia, winner of four consecutive Big 12 series, will go for a fifth Saturday.