FORT WORTH, Texas — The WVU baseball team lost the final game of a three-game series at TCU, 8-5, on Sunday afternoon.
On a hot afternoon in Fort Worth, Texas, the Mountaineers (26-23, 8-13 Big 12) were held to five runs on eight hits. The Horned Frogs (29-19, 10-10 Big 12) scored eight runs on four hits. The teams traded runs in the second, and WVU scored again in the third and fourth, but TCU scored three in the bottom of the third and added single runs in the seventh and eighth after The Mountaineers cut the deficit to one, at 6-5, in the sixth.
Freshman third baseman Tyler Doanes had a team-high-tying two hits with three RBIs. He hit his first career home run, an inside-the-park homer in the fourth inning. It was WVU’s first inside-the-park home run since March 5, 2017.
Junior shortstop Jimmy Galusky also homered. It was seventh of the season and 12th in his career, both second-most on the team.
Sophomore right-handed starter Isaiah Kearns suffered the loss and falls to 3-3 on the season. In three innings, he allowed four runs on three hits with two strikeouts and a walk.
WVU scored first for the 29th time this season to take a 1-0 lead in the second inning. The run came courtesy of a sacrifice fly by junior catcher Ivan Gonzalez. It scored sophomore first baseman Marques Inman, who led off the inning with a single.
TCU answered to tie the game at 1-1 in the bottom of the inning, on an RBI groundout.
Both teams again scored in the third. Galusky’s leadoff home run provided WVU’s offense before TCU scored three to take a 4-2 lead on a throwing error and two-run home run by AJ Balta.
The Mountaineers responded right back with a run in the fourth to make it a one-run game, at 4-3, thanks to Doanes’ inside the park home run.
With junior left fielder/right-hander Braden Zarbnisky on the mound after a pair of leadoff walks, the Horned Frogs extended their lead to 6-3 in the fifth, on two bases-loaded walks.
Again though, the Mountaineers answered right back with two runs in the top of the sixth to cut the deficit to one, 6-5. Junior right fielder Darius Hill led off the inning with a single and junior second baseman followed with another single to put runners on the corners. Doanes delivered again, with a two-RBI double to left-center.
Zarbnisky then pitched a perfect bottom of the sixth, and TCU scored one in the seventh on a sacrifice fly. That made it a 7-5 game, but sophomore reliever Sam Kessler got a strikeout to end the inning and leave a runner on second.
TCU added a run in the eighth on a bases-loaded walk to extend its lead to 8-5, and WVU was retired in order in the top of the ninth.
The Mountaineers completed their season Sunday afternoon at the Big 12 Rowing championship, held on Melton Hill Lake, in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
The Mountaineers collected eight team points to finish eighth overall. Among Big 12 foes, WVU was fifth with 47 team points.
No. 3 Texas was crowned the Big 12 champion for the fourth straight year, winning all five events. The Longhorns earned the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA Rowing championships. Oklahoma took second place with 38 team points, while Tennessee rounded out the top three with 37 points.
“The quality of racing among our crews across heats and finals was quite good and more complete than in recent years,” WVU head coach Jimmy King said. “We can’t and shouldn’t be dismissive of our standing among our conference foes, and the reality is that we simply need to keep working to get fitter and stronger. While the results aren’t good in that regard, the process has been quite good, and for that, I commend our team.”
WVU’s second varsity four boat finished in seventh overall with a Grand Final time of 8:08.850, nearly two seconds shy of Kansas’ sixth-place finish (8:06.175).
WVU’s second varsity eight crew captured a first-place finish in the Petite Final, out racing Old Dominion in the 2,000-meter course with a time of 7:15.742.
Additionally, the first varsity eight boat placed second with a Petite Final time of 7:06.719, just one second shy of Old Dominion’s crew (7:05.349). The first varsity four crew also completed the 2,000-meter course behind Old Dominion with a Petite Final time of 8:16.969.
This weekend’s championship marked the final race for four Mountaineer seniors: Abbigail Rees, Aria Asselta, Lillian Westerman and Jacqueline Spiropoulos.
“A final thank you to our four seniors — Abby, Aria, Lily and Jackie. They are all four-year rowers who made contributions to our team’s progress on and off the water during their time at WVU. We wish each of them much success and look forward to welcoming them back as alumnae next season.”
Of note, Carly Ledbetter capped her junior season by being named to the all-Big 12 Rowing team.