MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A walk-off sacrifice fly in the bottom of the ninth inning sent the West Virginia University baseball team to a 5-4 upset victory against No. 3 TCU on Friday night.
In front of 2,914 fans at Monongalia County Ballpark, the fourth-largest home crowd in program history, the Mountaineers (20-12, 7-3 Big 12) scored the winning run on sophomore catcher Ivan Gonzalez’s sacrifice fly with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning. The one-run, one-hit inning came after the Horned Frogs (27-6, 8-2 Big 12) tied the game with three runs in the top of the ninth.
The win over No. 3 TCU is the highest-ranked opponent WVU has defeated in program history and the third win over a top-five team in as many seasons. While ending TCU’s 13-game winning streak, West Virginia improved to 7-3 against top-25 teams in 2017.
“I don’t think our guys showed up today thinking we weren’t the best team on the field,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “There is a lot to be said for that. We attacked hitters, we attacked the pitcher, we got our swings off and that’s why we won the game.”
The ninth inning began with a double down the right-field by sophomore shortstop Jimmy Galusky. Freshman center fielder Brandon White sacrifice bunted Galusky to third. After an intentional walk, Gonzalez got the green light on a 3-0 count and sent a fly ball to left field. The TCU left fielder made a nice catch, but did not attempt a throw as Galusky scored the game-winning run.
Junior right-handed starter BJ Myers had another dominant outing on the mound, pitching 8.1 innings and allowing just two earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and a walk. He had his sixth quality start of the season and fifth in his last six starts.
“(It was) the same thing you see from him every time,” Mazey said of Myers’ outing. “He changes speeds, pitches down in the zone, he has different arm angles, different slots, different tempo, you just never get a really good look at him at home plate. He mixes his pitches really well, that’s one of the best teams in the country over there and BJ had control of that game from start to finish.”
Sophomore righty Braden Zarbnisky relieved Myers in the ninth inning and pitched 0.2 innings to earn his team-high-tying fourth victory and improve to 4-0 on the year.
After TCU scored one run in the top of the first inning, the Mountaineers answered right back in the bottom half. The inning began with a leadoff triple by sophomore second baseman Kyle Gray and was followed by Gonzalez’s first sacrifice fly of the day.
West Virginia added two runs on two hits in the fourth inning, thanks to an RBI triple by junior left fielder Kyle Davis and a sacrifice fly by Zarbnisky to bring home Davis.
In the fifth inning, a single by sophomore third baseman Cole Austin brought home Gonzalez to make it 4-1. That ended the night for TCU starter Jared Janczak, who pitched a season-low 4.2 innings and gave up a season-high four runs on six hits.
Through eight innings, Myers allowed one unearned run on four hits. In the ninth though, the Horned Frogs, trailing 4-1, scored three runs. The first two came off of Myers, beginning an Evan Skoug home run to lead off the inning.
A one-out single followed, and Zarbnisky replaced Myers on the mound. Two more singles and a walk brought in another run and loaded the bases. A wild pitch tied the game at 4-4 before Zarbnisky got a groundout, again with the bases loaded, to end the inning and set up WVU’s heroics in the bottom of the ninth.
The series against TCU continues on Saturday, with first pitch slated for 4 p.m. ET. Sunday’s finale begins at noon, and will be broadcast locally on the Nexstar Media Group’s network of statewide affiliates.
Tickets are available for both games. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-WVU GAME, purchasing tickets at WVUGAME.com or at the Mountaineer Ticket Office at Gate A of Monongalia County Ballpark on gameday or in advance at the Gold Gate at the WVU Coliseum.
NOTES: West Virginia improved to 20-12 on the season and is in sole possession of second place in the Big 12 with a 7-3 record ... WVU is 7-3 against top-25 teams and has won 12 of its last 17 games … The win over No. 3 TCU is the highest-ranked opponent WVU has defeated in program history and the third win over a top-five team in as many seasons … West Virginia snapped TCU’s 13-game winning streak … The crowd of 2,914 is the fourth-largest home crowd in team history and third-largest at Monongalia County Ballpark … Starter BJ Myers had his sixth quality start of the season and fifth in his last six starts, going 8.1 innings and allowing two earned runs on six hits with six strikeouts and a walk … Ivan Gonzalez drove in a team-high two runs, including the game-winner in the ninth inning on a sacrifice fly … It is Gonzalez’s second game-winning RBI of the season, both coming in the last five games … Braden Zarbnisky pitched 0.2 innings and earned his team-high-tying fourth win of the season.
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.