OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The West Virginia University baseball team used an eight-run inning, including seven runs with two outs, to rally and defeat No. 3 seed Kansas in the opening game of the Big 12 tournament Wednesday.
The Mountaineers (28-24) erased an 8-2 deficit in the top of the seventh by batting around. Freshman Jackson Cramer capped the rally with a three-run home run — the first homer of his collegiate career — to turn an 8-7 Jayhawks lead into a 10-8 advantage for West Virginia.
“We never give up, which is a great mentality to have,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “We’re very confident in our whole lineup and we feel like we can get a big spark from a lot of guys in the lineup. Since we’ve done this a few times here and there, we know we can do it and we know we’re never out of a ballgame.
“It was a good win and it should help us carry momentum moving forward.”
WVU plays second-seeded TCU on Thursday at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. The Horned Frogs defeated Baylor, 7-5, to advance.
The Mountaineers, down six runs, started its comeback in the seventh when Cramer singled up the middle. He came around to score WVU’s only run of the game that didn’t come with two outs. West Virginia received an RBI double from Ryan McBroom, a two-out, two-RBI double from Jacob Rice, an RBI single from Brad Johnson and then Cramer’s three-run shot down the right field line to cap the rally.
“Coach Mazey told me to get a fastball and I ended up getting a first fastball in,” Cramer said. “I was able to hit it well for a home run. It was good timing for my first home run.”
The Mountaineers had five players with multi-hit games: Billy Fleming went 2 for 5 with two runs, McBroom finished 3 for 5 with two runs, Rice went 2 for 4 with two RBI, Johnson 2 for 5 and Cramer finished 2 for 4 with two runs and three RBI.
The offensive breakout helped West Virginia overcome a shaky outing from Harrison Musgrave, who gave up six runs (five earned) in 5 2/3 innings. He gave up nine hits, walked two and finished with just one strikeout.
“I got a little tired today,” Musgrave said. “I am not really used to two weeks of short rest. Really, today was a struggle all the way around. The first inning I walked a lot of guys, but nobody scored luckily. All I had today was my fastball and they were sitting on it.
“Today I give myself an F, but hopefully if needed somewhere down the road in this tournament I can pitch a little better.”
West Virginia entered the Big 12 tournament on a seven-game losing streak. Wednesday’s win was WVU’s first since May 6, when the Mountaineers defeated Virginia Tech, 4-3, in Princeton.