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Mountaineers stumble again in 7-3 loss at Texas as Longhorns secure No. 1 seed in Big 12

West Virginia played catch-up throughout the entirety of its three-game series at Texas.

The most recent case Saturday came in a 7-3 loss to the Longhorns that means the Mountaineers are not outright Big 12 Conference regular season champion, despite needing only one win in Austin to lay claim to that feat.

Instead, Texas, which needed to win all three games at UFCU Disch-Falk Field over the nation’s sixth-ranked team for a share of the league crown, enters next week’s Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship at Globe Life Field as the No. 1 seed.

Oklahoma State closed its regular season Saturday with an 11-1 victory over Oklahoma, allowing the Cowboys to create a three-way tie atop the Big 12. The Longhorns are the No. 1 seed by virtue of their 4-2 record against OSU and WVU. The Cowboys, with a 3-3 record against the Longhorns and Mountaineers, are the second seed, while WVU fell to No. 3 over the weekend.

The Longhorns (38-18, 15-9) scored four first-inning runs Saturday off West Virginia veteran pitcher Ben Hampton, who recorded only one out in defeat. Texas finished the series with nine first-inning runs and nine more in the second, with the Mountaineers (39-16, 15-9) trailing from the second inning on in all three games.

Hampton faced six batters Saturday and five reached with a hit or base-on-balls. 

Dylan Campbell’s double brought in the first Texas run and a Garret Guillemette sacrifice fly doubled the early advantage. After Hampton issued consecutive walks to Porter Brown and Eric Kennedy, WVU manager Randy Mazey elected to pull the southpaw, who had logged at least five innings in 11 of his 13 previous starts this season.

Aidan Major came on and yielded a two-run single to Jalin Flores that left UT leading 4-0 ahead of the second inning.

The Longhorns added a single run in the second and third innings off Major, utilizing a Powell single to plate Thomas for a 5-0 lead, before Flores led off the third inning with Texas’ ninth home run of the series.

Braden Barry’s solo home run in the fourth generated the Mountaineers’ first run. The Longhorns’ 6-1 lead stood until the seventh, when WVU drew closer on a two-run home run from Sam White.

WVU had potential to draw closer in the seventh, but leading hitter JJ Wetherholt, bounced into an inning-ending double play.

Guillemete added to the Longhorns’ lead in the eighth with a run-scoring single, though Texas failed to score again despite having the bases loaded with one out.

It hardly mattered despite WVU getting Caleb McNeely and White on base to start the ninth. Texas reliever Charlie Hurley closed things out by getting Tevin Tucker to bounce into a game-ending double play to third.

WVU was outhit 12-4 for the game and 35-20 during a series it was outscored 29-9 in.

It marks the first time the Mountaineers have been swept in Big 12 play since May of 2021 against TCU.

White finished 2-for-3 to record half of his team’s hits.

Hampton suffered the loss and Major, David Hagaman and Carlson Reed all threw multiple innings in relief.

Thomas had three hits and Flores drove in three runs.

Texas starting pitcher Tanner Witt picked up the win with three scoreless frames. He struck out three, walked one and allowed one hit.

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