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Eight-run eighth gives WVU breathing room vs. Sooners

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Considering West Virginia had scored only 10 runs through its four Big 12 games, Saturday’s eighth-inning explosion seemed gluttonous.

“We needed a win in the worst way,” coach Randy Mazey said after the Mountaineers sent 15 batters to the plate during an eight-run rally that sealed a 12-4 win over No. 22 Oklahoma.

It marked the most runs allowed in a game this season by the Sooners (22-6, 4-1), and West Virginia’s lineup featured several standouts. 

Leading 4-3, WVU’s Kevin Brophy one-hopped the right-field wall for a two-run double that started the eighth-inning onslaught. Tucker Tucker added an RBI double, and catcher Paul McIntosh — building open his solo homer earlier — poured on a two-run single. 

WVU also scored on Ivan Gonzalez’s single, a wild pitch and a bases-loaded walk.

“It was nice to go into the ninth inning with an nine-run lead,” Mazey said. “That doesn’t happen very often for us.”

The Mountaineers (15-11, 1-4) outhit Oklahoma 12-9 overall, including six for extra bases.

Tyler Doanes broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh, culminating a nine-pitch at-bat by grounding a single into left field to score Tevin Tucker from third base. 

Tristen Hudson (1-0) took the relief win, but he left two runners aboard in the top of the eighth for Sam Kessler’s clutch pitching.

The Mountaineers’ closer, facing the top of Oklahoma;’s order, stuck out Jordan Vujovich and Brandon Zaragoza to preserve a 4-3 lead.

WVU started Jackson Wolfe survived six hits and four walks to leave with a 3-1 lead after five innings. That margin vanished when reliever Gabe Kurtzhals allowed four of the batters he faced to reach.

Right-hander Nate Wiles (5-1) yielded four runs on eight hits over 6 2/3 innings for the Sooners, who stranded 12 baserunners overall and eight in the first four innings.

“I thought Nate battled all day long,” Oklahoma coach Skip Johnson said. “We can’t leave that many guys on base. We just have to execute when we get men in scoring position. If we had taken the lead early, it could have made a big difference in the game.”

West Virginia centerfielder Brandon White, who stranded five baserunners in Friday’s 2-1 loss, rebounded by going 2-for-3 with two walks. His RBI double made it a 2-0 gap in the second.

“The Big 12 Conference is tough,” White said. “Any win gets us going forward.”

The series rubber game is scheduled for Sunday at 1 p.m.

We’ve got to fight like heck to get a series win,” Mazey said.

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