NORMAN, Okla. – Junior left-hander John Means
of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
"There is no way to draw it up any better than that. Means went deep into the game, his pitch count was low and he got outs early in the count," coach Randy Mazey says. "Ross (Vance) gave us a spark on Tuesday. Now that they know Sean (Carley) is at the end of the bullpen, I told a lot of people that it is going to take some pressure off our offense to try so hard to perform. We played a lot looser tonight and offensively we made things happen."
The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.
Means (5-1) was impressive after taking a weekend off. Means allowed no runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and one walk in seven innings.
"I predicted that he would be rusty, but he was anything but rusty. That's as good as I've seen John Means
," Mazey says. "His velocity slacked off later in the game, but that's because he hasn't been extended the last couple of weeks. That's good for him going into next weekend and the defense played great."
Five different West Virginia batters had multi-hit games, led by a career-high three hits off the bat of freshman designated hitter Jackson Cramer
. Junior center fielder Bobby Boyd
and junior second baseman Billy Fleming
also had three hits. Cramer, Fleming and senior left fielder Jacob Rice
each drove in two runs. Freshman right fielder Shaun Wood
and Rice had two hits apiece.
West Virginia jumped out to a 5-0 lead on six hits in the top of the first, sending eight batters to the plate. Junior shortstop Taylor Munden
, Boyd and Fleming had three-straight singles with Fleming driving in Munden to open the scoring.
Following a strikeout by senior first baseman Ryan McBroom
, Rice laced a doubled down the left field line to the fence, scoring both Boyd and Fleming to bring the lead to 3-0.
Rice was driven in on an RBI ground out to shortstop by junior catcher Cam O’Brien, and Cramer plated Wood with a single to left field, extending the WVU lead to 5-0.
Cramer’s third single of the game came in the top of the sixth, scoring Rice and bringing the WVU lead to 6-0.
Oklahoma threatened with one out and runners on second and third base in the bottom of the sixth, but Means was able to strand the runners. He struck out Joshua Ake for the second out and then made a no-look grab on grounder up the middle by Sheldon Neuse for the final out.
A two-out rally in the top of the ninth gave WVU an insurance run to make the score 7-0. Munden walked, was advanced to third by a Boyd single up the middle and then scored as Fleming hit a chopper that the pitcher could not field.
After allowing the five runs in the first inning, Oklahoma right-hander Corey Copping (2-0) settled down nicely, pitching seven innings. Copping allowed six runs on 13 hits with six strikeouts and no walks.
Austin O’Brien and Taylor Alspaugh each had two hits for the Sooners, who finished with seven hits and one error.
Friday’s game will begin at 7 p.m. EST, and will be televised on affiliates of Fox College Sports Central. The radio broadcast will be on select affiliates of the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG College.
Junior left-hander Harrison Musgrave
will get the start for the Mountaineers, and sophomore left-hander Adam Choplick will oppose him.