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Big 12 Baseball Championship, Game 11: WVU 6, OSU 5 (11)

A second consecutive game rolls to extra innings, and the Mountaineers stay alive for at least another nine innings... of someone else's game, anyway.


Friday night, TCU committed nine errors, allowing West Virginia to romp to a victory. This afternoon, West Virginia committed five errors, and although those errors did dig a deep hole, they didn't cost the Mountaineers in the end.

The Cowboys jumped out early, scoring a couple of unearned runs when Tanner Krietemeier reached on an error by shortstop Michael Constantini and then Randy McCurry launched a home run to left.

West Virginia threatened in the bottom half when Bobby Boyd led off with a triple. He was unable to score when Billy Fleming flew out to right; Jacob Rice battled hard, but was unable to bring Boyd home when he struck out at the end of a seven pitch at-bat. Ryan Tuntland then walked on four pitches, but Mark Robinette induced a popup to second from Ryan McBroom to end the threat.

Things settled until the top of the fourth. With one out, Aaron Cornell doubled into left and moved up on a wild pitch. Robbie Rea bounced back to the mound before Zach Fish rapped a grounder to Tuntland for what should have been the third out. His throw was wild, however, and Cornell scored to make it 3-0 Cowboys. Both runs were unearned.

In the sixth, Cornell led off with a single for Oklahoma State. Rea reached on catcher's interference (mark your bingo card!), and Fish singled between third and short to load the bases. Mountaineer catcher Alan Filauro snapped a pickoff throw which went awry, allowing Cornell to score. After Gage Green struck out, Victor Romero lofted a fly to left which scored Rea. The Mountaineers were down 5-0; worse, all five runs were unearned, while at the same time Robinette had retired 13 West Virginia batters in a row.

That ended in the bottom of the sixth when Robinette issued a free pass on a full count to Constantini. After retiring the next two hitters, Rice bunted for a single; both runners then advanced on a wild pitch before Tuntland singled to drive them both in. Back-to-back homers to left by McBroom (crushed) and Brady Wilson (just over the fence, just inside the fair pole) tied the game, and that was it for Robinette. Kenton Bevacqua came in and got Matt Frazer to foul out, cauterizing the wound.

The Cowboys tried to regain the lead in the seventh. Donnie Walton led off with a single, and Krietemeier got hit with a pitch (approximately the 2,352,492nd HBP of the tournament). Randy McCurry sacrificed the runners over, but the Mountaineers' porous defense came to the rescue. Cornell ripped a line drive toward left which was speared by Tuntland at third base; Rea launched a fly ball into the gap in right-center which was flagged down by right fielder Wilson.

In the eighth, the Cowboys again threatened, loading the bases with one out. But Walton hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the rally. Meanwhile, Bevacqua had retired every batter he faced since entering the game in the sixth, leaving the teams to start the ninth still knotted at five.

The Pokes went down in order in the ninth. The Mountaineers did not. McBroom led off with a double to left-center which Saulyer Saxon got his glove on while diving, but couldn't hang onto. Bevacqua was pulled in favor of closer Brendan McCurry, and Corey Hassel replaced the banged-up Saxon in center. Wilson tried to lay down a sacrifice, but after two foul bunts struck out. The Cowboys walked Frazer intentionally to face Filauro, who flew out to deep, deep left. Unfortunately for West Virginia, it was a hit-and-run, so the runners had to scoot back rather than being able to advance. That brought up Taylor Munden, pinch-hitting for Constantini; he struck out swinging to send the game to the tenth.

Green singled with two outs for Oklahoma State, but didn't go anywhere; Romero grounded out to second to retire the side. Boyd led off with a single for the Mountaineers and was moved over by a Fleming bunt. Jacob Rice slapped a single to right and Boyd raced around, barely beating the tag at the plate to give the Mountaineers the win.

With the victory, West Virginia (34-26) remains alive; TCU does not, as even with a win tonight the Frogs (and Kansas) lose the three-way tiebreaker to the Mountaineers based on seed. If Kansas wins, they'll go through to the final. Oklahoma State stumbled through the tournament, going 0-3, and finishes with a 39-20 record. They're probably in the NCAA field, but this weekend's performance gives the committee all the ammo they need to exclude them should they feel the need.

Next: TCU vs Kansas.