The West Virginia baseball team has survived for another series as the No. 8 seed Mountaineers defeated the No. 9 seed Kansas Jayhawks in the Big 12 Conference Tournament on Tuesday night, 8-7, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
West Virginia (24-25, 8-16 Big 12) needed a five-run comeback to avoid the early exit and won the game on a bases-loaded walk-off when sophomore outfielder Victor Scott earned the walk in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Mountaineers fell behind early as Kansas (30-27, 8-16 Big 12) scored five runs in the first two innings. A three-run home run by freshman infielder Maui Ahuna broke the game open in the second inning to make it 5-0.
West Virginia began its climb back into contention with a solo home run by Alec Burns in the bottom of the second inning to make it 1-0. It didn’t take long after that for the Mountaineers to tie the game as they pieced together five hits and four runs in the fourth inning.
Hudson Byorick started the fourth inning with a lead-off single, but the next two batters failed to reach base. With two outs and a runner on first, West Virginia tallied four straight hits. The final hit of the inning tied the game when Matt McCormick scored two runners on a triple to right field.
WVU took its first lead of the game in the fifth inning on a Byorick groundout that scored Nathan Blasick. The Jayhawks didn’t hesitate to answer as they retook the lead in the sixth inning.
The first run was scored off a triple by Ahuna — he finished 4-for-5 with a home run, a triple and four RBIs — that scored James Consentino to tie the game. On the next at-bat, Tavian Josenberger singled to right field and scored Ahuna. Kansas led, 7-6, heading into the eighth inning.
In the eighth inning, the Mountaineers scored to tie the game at seven on a hit by Kevin Brophy. Braden Barry was the scored the run on a fielding error by the Jayhawks.
For West Virginia, the ninth inning started with a groundout by McCormick. Following McCormick, Paul McIntosh was hit by a pitch and stole second base with Blasick batting. Blasick was walked and was followed by a walk from Byorick to load the bases.
On a full count, Scott earned the third-straight walk for the Mountaineers of the inning and Ben Abernathy, who was pinch running for McIntosh, scored the winning run.
For the game, West Virginia finished with 14 hits and two errors. Kansas had 14 hits and one error. The winning pitcher was Jacob Watters who pitched 1.2 innings and struck out three batters.
West Virginia will now face No. 1 seed Texas in the Big 12 Tournament. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The game will be televised on ESPN+.