MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Entering Saturday’s doubleheader at Monongalia County Ballpark, West Virginia had an opportunity to win or sweep an important Big 12 series against Oklahoma.
Two games and 20 innings later, the Mountaineers came away empty handed.
After a 7-1 win in the series opener, WVU fell 8-7 in extra innings in the first game of the doubleheader and then 9-1 in the finale, marking West Virginia’s sixth series loss in a row.
“It was a grind of a day,” WVU skipper Randy Mazey said. “Not winning that first game obviously took a lot of wind out of our sails for game two, but just a tough day for us.”
The Mountaineers had chances to win the early game in the doubleheader. They hit three homers in the contest — two by redshirt sophomore Alec Burns — but failed to find the winning run.
That outcome created a chain reaction, according to Mazey. In the final game of the doubleheader, Oklahoma held WVU without a hit for the first eight innings of the game. Sophomore Dominic Ragazzo recorded the team’s only hit and run in the bottom of the ninth.
After a heartbreaking end to the first game of the doubleheader, Mazey said his players were flat for the rest of the day.
“We’ve just been waiting for something really good to happen to us this whole season. We had a chance to walk them off multiple times in that first game, and we didn’t do it,” Mazey said. “We didn’t play very hard the second game. Guys weren’t running hard. Just seemed like it was a culmination of all the adversity that has hit us this year in that first game, and we didn’t recover from it very well. It’s my fault.”
This series was critical for West Virginia, which had a chance gain ground on the top seven teams in the Big 12. Instead, the Mountaineers now sit firmly in eighth place, and if they finish the regular season there, they’ll compete in a play-in game at the Big 12 Championship before double-elimination play begins.
It is possible that WVU could still climb into the top seven in the league, but that would require the Mountaineers to win multiple games in their upcoming Big 12 series against Texas. The Longhorns will host that series May 20-22, and they’re still in contention for a conference regular season title.
Even if the Mountaineers could take two of three from the Longhorns, they’d need need additional help. K-State and WVU are currently even in conference victories with seven apiece, but the Wildcats have six Big 12 games remaining compared to West Virginia’s three. K-State could lock up a top-seven finish this weekend when it challenges Kansas, the league’s last place team.
West Virginia’s next four games are all nonconference fixtures. The Mountaineers host Marshall Tuesday a 6:30 p.m., then wrap up their home schedule with a three-game series against Miami (Ohio), which begins Friday.