WVU drops series finale to No. 11 Texas Tech

WVU Baseball

The West Virginia University baseball team’s four-game win streak came to an end with a 3-0 loss to No. 11 Texas Tech on Sunday afternoon at Monongalia County Ballpark.

The Mountaineers (22-13, 6-6 Big 12) were shut out for the third time this season and held to two hits as the 11th-ranked Red Raiders (23-11, 6-6) avoided the sweep in the series finale. TTU, which had six hits, scored two runs in the fifth and added one in the eighth.

In the three-game series, WVU held the Big 12’s top-scoring offense to six total runs and a .196 batting average. With a 2-0 win on Friday night and a 4-3, walk-off victory on Saturday, West Virginia won its third consecutive weekend series, all against top-25 teams, and has won eight of its last 10 games.

“We have to be happy with winning the series against this team, one of the best teams out there,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “We thought we played really well. We pitched really well and played good defense. We hit when we needed to, except for tonight, and it was a little more difficult today.

“Texas Tech junior right-handed starter Caleb Kilian) did a great job, pitched a whole game really with one pitch. It was a really good pitch and he had great command of it. So, if you want to learn how to pitch today, that was the guy to watch. A day like today, with the rain delay, everybody was watching Tiger (Woods) make that last putt on hole 18, the timing of that was perfect, we didn’t start until after The Masters was over. The team that threw the most strikes today was going to win because, with the wind blowing in, it would be a dead offensive day and we didn’t throw as many strikes as they did.”

Kilian held WVU to a pair of two-out singles, in the first and third innings. He struck out nine and did not walk a batter in the complete-game shutout.

Junior right-hander Kade Strowd suffered the loss for West Virginia. In 4.0 innings, he allowed two runs on three hits with six strikeouts and seven walks. Six relievers followed and combined to allow one run on three hits in the final 5.0 innings.

West Virginia’s first hit of the game came in the first inning, on a two-out infield single by senior right fielder Darius Hill. That came after Strowd stranded the bases loaded in the top of the first.

Strowd stranded another two in the second, with back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning. He struck out another two in the third to leave one on following a two-out walk.

Sophomore second baseman Tyler Doanes singled in the third with two outs, and both teams were retired in order in the fourth.

The Red Raiders took a 2-0 lead in the fifth, as back-to-back walks were followed by an RBI double. Another walk loaded the bases, and freshman right-hander Ryan Bergert relieved Strowd. A sacrifice fly brought in the second run before Bergert got a groundout and a strikeout to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.

Bergert proceeded to retire the side in order in the sixth and seventh innings. Texas Tech added a run in the eighth to make it 3-0 on an RBI single off of senior left-hander Zach Reid, who relieved freshman righty Gabe Kurtzhals with two on and two outs. Sophomore right-hander Tristen Hudson got a strikeout to end the inning and strand two.

In the ninth, freshmen right-handers Brock Helverson and Madison Jeffrey combined to not allow a run. Jeffrey finished off the inning with a strikeout to strand the bases loaded.

The Mountaineers return to the road for one game, at Penn State on Wednesday, April 17. First pitch at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park in University Park, Pennsylvania, is set for 6:30 p.m.

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