Missed opportunities cost WVU in 5-2 loss to Texas Tech

GRANVILLE, W.Va. — No. 12 West Virginia suffered just their second loss in the last 14 games, falling to Texas Tech, 5-2 Friday afternoon in a series opener at Monongalia County Ballpark.

WVU’s loss, coupled with Kansas State’s 10-9 win at Oklahoma State reduced West Virginia’s lead atop the Big 12 Conference to a single game with five games to play.

“Tomorrow is the biggest game of the year, just like today was. You’ve just got to come out and do your best to win it,” said WVU head coach Randy Mazey.

The Mountaineers found the scoreboard first in the second inning. Ellis Garcia’s two-run double sent Dayne Leonard and Caleb McNeely to the plate and gave West Virginia an early 2-0 lead.

Texas Tech answered back with a run in the third inning and two more in the fourth to take a 3-2 lead. Kevin Bazzell’s solo home run in the fourth evened the score at 2.

Tech chased WVU starting pitcher Ben Hampton after five innings of work. He allowed four hits.

The Red Raiders (35-16/10-9 Big 12) added a pair of insurance runs in the ninth when Austin Green delivered a two-run double. Those were the only two runs Aidan Major allowed in four innings of relief.

“They got one big hit with a couple guys on base and we never seemed to. That’s baseball.”

The Mountaineers left the bases loaded in the fifth inning and left two men stranded in the seventh. On a 2-2 pitch with two out, Braden Barry was called on a time violation, resulting in a strikeout that ended the inning.

West Virginia (37-13/13-6 Big 12) brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. However, Tech reliever Brandon Beckel recorded his seventh strikeout in four innings to end it. Beckel earned his fifth save of the season. The Mountaineers left ten runners on base, including four in the last three innings.

“Normally if we hold a team to five runs, we are going to win. We have been scoring eight, nine runs a game. It is one of those nights where we didn’t.”

The Mountaineers were held to two runs or less for just the fourth time this season. WVU’s six hits were their lowest output since mustering just four in a 7-1 loss at Kansas State on April 1.

Game two of the three-game series is set for 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

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