GRANVILLE — The WVU baseball team won the war against Big 12 foe Kansas State this weekend, but the Mountaineers couldn’t win the final battle.
After nabbing wins over the Wildcats on April 20 and April 21, the Mountaineers dropped the final match up of a three-game home series, 7-4, April 23, narrowly missing a sweep.
“It’s disappointing to go two out of three when we won the first two,” WVU head coach Randy Mazey said. “But in the big scheme of things, this is a pretty good series win for us.”
The loss was marked by a pitching struggle for WVU, as six different pitchers saw Wildcat batters and five gave up hits.
“Changing pitchers is not an exact science, and it’s really easy to do after the damage has occurred. The trick is to try and do it before the damage occurs,” Mazey said. “Sometimes, it works out, and sometimes, it doesn’t.”
The pitching woes were perhaps at their worst in the fifth inning of play, when four separate pitchers saw the mound, walking four batters with two resulting in RBIs.
“We just walked too many guys. We walked 22 batters in a weekend,” Mazey said. “You can win an occasional game doing that, but in the long haul you’re going to lose consistently if you put guys on base like that.”
The loss comes as the Mountaineers are looking to fight their way into post-season consideration. They currently sit seventh in the Big 12 with a 4-8 conference record, and are clawing for an opportunity at the Big 12 tournament come May. Only the top eight teams will earn a bid.
“It’s very expensive losing this game. We had a chance to come back into conference play,” Mazey said. “We’ll look back at this game at the end of the season and see it as one we should have had.”
However, every cloud has its silver lining, and WVU shortstop Jimmy Galusky takes plenty of positives from the loss.
“I don’t know if you necessarily say it’s a disappointment. Every loss puts a little bit of burn in you, and after coming out yesterday and winning the series you definitely want to come out and win the third,” he said. “It’s a little disappointing, but after winning the series we can carry that into next weekend.”
Galusky, Isaiah Kearns, and Marques Inman paced the Mountaineers at the plate with two hits each. Galusky, Kyle Gray, Darius Hill, and Brandon White scored runs for the Mountaineers. Braden Zarbnisky took the loss on the mound.
WVU falls to 19-18 on the season with the loss, and will travel to Power Park in Charleston on Tuesday to battle in-state rival Marshall. That game scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
“We go down to Marshall Tuesday, and that should be a big deal,” Galusky said. “You always want to beat Pitt, but you always want to get Marshall, too. It’s a big deal to all the guys on the team.”