WVU Rallies to Beat No. 23 Oklahoma St. in Extras

  • By Charlie Healy
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  • April 01, 2017 07:37 PM
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STILLWATER, Okla. – The West Virginia University baseball team rallied with two runs in the ninth inning and two in the 10th to beat No. 23 Oklahoma State, 5-3, on Saturday afternoon at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
The Mountaineers (14-10, 3-2 Big 12) trailed 3-1 with one out in the ninth inning when sophomore third baseman Cole Austin launched a two-run home run to left field to tie the game at 3-3. After the Cowboys (16-10, 1-4) stranded a runner on second with one out in the bottom of the ninth, WVU took its first lead of the game with two runs in the 10th inning.
Offensively, West Virginia scored just one run on nine hits and stranded 12 baserunners in the first eight innings before breaking through in the ninth. On the mound, sophomore right-handed starter Michael Grove and relievers Jackson Sigman and Braden Zarbnisky held OSU to three runs on six hits with 14 strikeouts. The trio faced the minimum three batters in eight of today’s 10 innings.
“We really deserved to win that game, we had multiple guys on base in almost every inning,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “We ended up stranding 12 runners on base, so we really dominated the game. They scored their two runs with two outs, on two singles and a three-run homer, but other than that, I don’t know if they got a guy to second base. Michael Grove pitched really well, Jackson Sigman pitched really well and so did Braden Zarbnisky. I just kept telling them, ‘we deserved to win this game. Stick with it, keep swinging and someone will get the big hit.’ If you stick with it, we’re going to find a way to win.”
With the score tied at 3-3, the 10th inning began with Zarbnisky’s double down the left field line. He advanced to third when sophomore shortstop Jimmy Galusky reached on a fielder's choice and scored the eventual game-winning run on a wild pitch. Freshman center fielder TJ Lake scored him with a single up the middle to make it 5-3.
Zarbnisky followed with a perfect 10th inning to secure the win, retiring the final two batters on a combined three pitches.
Extra innings were necessary thanks to Austin’s two-run home run in the ninth inning. The homer, his team-high-tying fourth of the season and eighth of his career, scored senior first baseman Jackson Cramer and extended the game into the bottom of the ninth inning. Austin finished with three hits and three RBIs, both team-high totals.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Cowboys threatened with a runner on second with two outs, but Zarbnisky came in and got two strikeouts to strand the OSU runner at second base and send the game to extra innings.
Zarbnisky improved to 3-0 on the season with 1.2 innings. He struck out three and did not allow a baserunner. Zarbnisky is tied for the team lead with three wins.
Grove had another quality start, his second in as many weeks. In 7.0 innings, he allowed three runs on five hits with nine strikeouts. The Wheeling, West Virginia, native did not walk a batter and took a perfect game into the fourth inning with two outs and retired the Cowboys in order five times.
Runners reached for the Mountaineers in the first five innings and multiple runners reached in four of the first five frames, but they could not get a run on the board. WVU loaded the bases in the fifth with two outs, but a fly-out ended the frame.
Meanwhile, Grove was shutting down the Cowboys, retiring the first 11 batters he faced. OSU broke through in the fourth though, with its first hit and run of the game. With two outs, back-to-back singles was followed by a three-run home run by Colin Simpson to give Oklahoma State a 3-0 lead.
Following a 1-2-3 sixth inning, the only time all game WVU was retired in order, the Mountaineers cut into the deficit in the seventh off the OSU bullpen. Sophomore second baseman Kyle Gray led off the inning with a single to left, advanced to second on a passed ball and reached third on a groundout.
With two outs, Austin’s single to center field drove in Gray.
Grove followed with another 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the seventh, his sixth perfect inning of the day. West Virginia again put two runners on in the eighth with two outs, but a fly-out ended the inning.
Sigman relieved Grove to start the eighth and allowed a one-out single, but a strike-him-out, throw-him-out double play ended the inning.
The three-game series concludes tomorrow at 1 p.m. ET/12 p.m. CT. The game will be live streamed for free on OkState.com/Live, and fans can listen on the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG on various affiliates throughout the state, online at WVUsports.com, on the Mountaineer Gameday App and the TuneInRadio App. Live stats can be found at OkState.Statbroadcast.com. Links to live streams, radio broadcasts and live stats for all three games can be found on the baseball schedule page on WVUsports.com.
NOTES: WVU improved to 14-10 on the season, 3-2 in Big 12 play and 5-2 against top-25 teams, all on the road … West Virginia played its second extra-inning game of the year and improved to 1-1 … Cole Austin had a team-best three hits and three RBIs, with a home run, his fourth of the year and eighth of his career … Braden Zarbnisky scored the eventual game-winning run and also earned the win, pitching 1.2 innings and retiring all five batters he faced … Zarbnisky is tied with Isaiah Kearns and BJ Myers with a team-high three wins … Starter Michael Grove had his second quality start in as many weeks, allowing three runs on five hits with nine strikeouts and no walks in 7.0 innings … WVU pitchers faced the minimum three batters in eight of the 10 innings today … Offensively, runners reached in all but the sixth inning for WVU.
Single game tickets, flex plan tickets and mini packs for the 2017 WVU baseball season are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-WVU GAME, going to WVUGAME.com or visiting the Mountaineer Ticket Office in the WVU Coliseum. The 2017 schedule is available on WVUsports.com.
For more information on the Mountaineers, follow WVU Baseball on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and visit WVUsports.com.