OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — West Virginia centerfielder Brandon White made one highlight catch against Kansas, and couldn’t fathom how replay overturned another.
“He thought he caught it,” Mountaineers coach Randy Mazey said of White’s diving grab in the fifth inning.
Originally ruled a catch, Kansas challenged the call and replay showed that Skyler Messinger’s sinking liner short-hopped into White’s glove.
There was no overturning White’s acrobatic play in the eighth inning, when he crashed face-first into the centerfield padding to rob Nolan Metcalf of extra bases.
“Brandon White is the best centerfielder I’ve coached in 30 years,” Mazey said. “We’re a little bit guilty because every time a ball goes up in his direction we’re thinking it’ll get caught. The guy changes games with his defense.”
Ace in the hole
West Virginia will have Big 12 pitcher of the year Alek Manoah available to start Thursday’s game against top-seeded Texas Tech on a week’s rest.
“To have him on the mound in the winner’s bracket is really nice for us,” Mazey said.
In a season full of dazzling performances, Manoah (8-3, 1.91) delivered his best against Texas Tech on April 12 — a 15-strikeout four-hitter in a 2-0 win.
KU’s pitching dilemma
Timing wasn’t on the side of fifth-seeded Kansas (31-25) after spring semester finals and rain forced the Jayhawks to end the regular season with Sunday’s doubleheader. West Virginia had wrapped up play one day earlier with a single game against George Washington.
That didn’t allow the Jayhawks to start ace Ryan Zeferjahn “or we would have had a really good chance to win,” coach Ritch Price said.
Zeferjahn (5-2, 3.37) allowed one run over six innings in his April 20 start in Morgantown.
A week after setting the Mountaineers school record for career doubles, Darius Hill is staring down the Big 12 mark. His seventh-inning double against Kansas gave him 77, two shy of the conference mark. … Though Nick Snyder struggled, WVU improved to 11-0 in his starts this season. … The Mountaineers improved to 11-10 all-time at the Big 12 tournament.
“You play against the baseball, not against the scoreboard.” — Ritch Price on Kansas rallying from a 9-1 hole
“Just a normal day. We work our butts off every day.” — Paul McIntosh on his 3-for-4 performance and season-high four RBIs.
“I personally thanked the guys for allowing me to sleep in tomorrow. Not having to get up at 5:30 is huge motivator.” — Mazey after WVU won its 9 a.m. Central opener and avoided another early start Thursday