No. 6 West Virginia did not look like a team competing for a Big 12 title Thursday night. Luckily enough for the Mountaineers, they still have two more chances.
The Mountaineers (39-14, 15-7 Big 12) lost Thursday’s matchup with Texas (36-18, 13-9 Big 12) 12-2 at Disch-Falk Field in Austin. WVU scored two runs or fewer for the fifth time this season.
Carson Estridge started on the mound to begin the series after three-straight appearances. Ben Hampton, who typically starts series-openers on Fridays, was not listed as a probable starter for any of the three games in Austin, though Sunday’s starter is still yet to be announced.
Estridge only recorded five outs and allowed five runs (four earned) on five hits. Maxx Yehl, who relieved Estridge, allowed three earned runs out of the bullpen in two and-one-thirds innings.
Longhorn outfielder Porter Brown played the villain in Thursday’s one-sided drama. Brown singled in his first at-bat, then homered in each of his next three plate appearances. He tallied eight RBIs in the process. Texas recorded three innings with multiple runs Thursday, with each hosting a Brown homer. Coming into Thursday’s game, he had eight long balls on the year.
Grant Siegel threw two innings out of the bullpen and allowed three runs, but none of them were earned as they followed a throwing error by Siegel. Those three runs came on Porter’s third homer of the night to extend Texas’ lead to 11-0.
Gavin Van Kempen was the only WVU pitcher who did not allow a run. Van Kempen walked a batter, but he did not allow any hits in one inning of scoreless relief.
WVU scored both of its runs late and while facing a massive deficit. Braden Barry (1-for-3) scored J.J. Wetherholt (1-for-4) on an RBI double in the eighth inning. Moments later, the Longhorns responded with a solo homer from outfielder Dylan Campbell.
In the ninth, Evan Smith pinch-hit for J.J. Wetherholt, and Smith scored Caleb McNeely (0-for-3, BB) on an RBI single.
Though WVU could have clinched a share of the Big 12 regular season title with a win, Oklahoma State’s 13-2 win over Oklahoma Thursday prevented any chance of the Mountaineers clinching the outright crown on Thursday night. A win at any point in the Texas series would guarantee the Mountaineers a share, while a win and an OSU loss would result in WVU as the lone champion.
Blaine Traxel (7-4, 3.22 ERA) is expected to start Friday’s game for the Mountaineers against righty Lebarron Johnson (6-2, 2.76 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.