CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team used an all-around team effort on Saturday in a 9-3 victory over No. 10 Oklahoma at Appalachian Power Park.
The victory came in front of 2,250 fans, the third-consecutive home game that the Mountaineers have had an attendance over 2,200.
“That as sweet a victory as we have had all season. That’s a great team and a great program,” coach Randy Mazey says. “In the last two games I think if you had come to watch these games and didn’t know anything about either program or tradition, you would think we were the better team. I think we’ve outplayed them the first two games.”
The win ties the series at 1-1 after WVU fell 4-3 in 10 innings on Friday evening and it improves the Mountaineers record to 28-20 overall and 10-7 in Big 12 play. They trail Oklahoma by one game in the Big 12 standings as the Sooners drop to 34-13 overall and 11-6 in conference play.
“I challenged the guys before the game to bounce back from a tough loss last night and hit like we did last night,” Mazey says. “Every time I have challenged this team, they have responded.”
WVU also clinched a spot in the Big 12 Championship with the victory.
Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the sixth inning junior third baseman Ryan Tuntland
redeemed himself of an earlier error, crushing a two-run home run over the left field fence to give WVU a 4-2 advantage. Tuntland’s third homer of the season drove in junior left fielder Jacob Rice
, who had previously plated sophomore shortstop Taylor Munden
to tie the game at 2-2 with a fielder’s choice to second base.
The Sooners came back to cut the lead to 4-3 in the top of the seventh, but junior right-handed reliever Pascal Paul
entered the game with runners on first and second and forced Oklahoma’s Jack Mayfield into a ground out to end the threat.
A two-run home run that went on to the road behind the left field fence by junior first baseman Ryan McBroom
highlighted a five-run bottom of the eighth inning that gave WVU a 9-3 lead and put the game out of reach. Also driving in two during the inning was sophomore center fielder Bobby Boyd
’s single to center field.
Tuntland and McBroom each had two hits with Tuntland driving in three runs and McBroom plating two, while Munden finished with three hits. Munden and Tuntland also each scored two runs.
Junior right-hander Dan Dierdorff
(4-5) picked up his second-straight conference victory, allowing three runs, two earned, on seven hits in 6.2 innings. He struck out eight and walked one.
“He finds a way to mix all of his pitches,” Mazey says. “He didn’t have his breaking ball much today, but he grinded it out and in the seventh inning you look up and they only had two runs. He did what we asked him to do and that was to give us a chance to win the game.”
Paul picked up his seventh save of the year, striking out one in 2.1 no-hit innings of relief.
Munden led off the bottom of the first for WVU with a single to left field and came around to score on a ground out to second base by Tuntland, giving the Mountaineers an early 1-0 lead.
Oklahoma tied the game in the top of the fourth and took the lead at 2-1 in the top of the fifth. Anthony Hermelyn drove in Mayfield with a bloop single to right field for the game-tying run and the Sooners took the lead on a sacrifice bunt by Max White that allowed Garrett Carey to score from second after a throwing error by Tuntland.
Craig Aikin went 2-for-4 to lead the Sooners, while Aikin, Mayfield and Carey each scored one run.
Despite retiring 16-consective Mountaineer batters at one point, OUs Jake Fisher (1-2) took the loss. Fisher let up one earned run (four runs) on six hits in 5.2 innings with three strikeouts and one walk.
The series finale is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. The game will be video streamed on WVUsports.com, while the radio broadcast will be on select affiliates of the Mountaineer Sports Network, with Morgantown affiliate WAJR 1440 AM serving as the flagship station.