OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Josh Jung and Cameron Warren homered, and No. 10 Texas Tech finally figured out No. 19 West Virginia’s pitching during a 10-3 win at the Big 12 tournament on Saturday.
Scoring the final eight runs, the Red Raiders (39-16) staved off elimination and forced a rematch to be played Saturday night, with the survivor advancing to the championship round.
The Mountaineers (36-19), competing to host an NCAA regional, saw their six-game winning streak snapped and burned two starting pitchers who combined for 10 walks and three hit batters.
The conference’s top offensive team, Texas Tech had scored a combined seven runs in the previous four meetings.
Kade Strowd (5-6) carried a one-run lead into the fifth but left trailing 5-3 after Brian Klein’s game-tying double off the left-field wall and Jung’s two-run laser cleared the 415-foot sign in center.
Jung had been 1-of-15 against West Virginia this season before crushing that fastball for his 11th homer. On the previous pitch, Strowd threw a fastball past the Big 12’s co-player of the year, who banged his bat on the dirt.
“Sometimes you watch Alek Manoah abuse weaknesses, but Alek Manoah is Alek Manoah and not many people can do what Alek can do,” Mazey said. “Eventually (Jung) caught up to one.”
Strowd threw 105 pitches in four-plus innings. He struck out seven to escape early jams but ultimately yielded five runs on three hits and five walks.
Given the two-run deficit, West Virginia coach Randy Mazey curiously turned to Jackson Wolf out of the bullpen, burning a 13-game starter who could’ve been.
“We sipped him into a relief role coming into this thing,” Mazey said. “He prepared for it. He knew he’d be the first reliever out.”
Wolf was ineffective, giving up five runs over 3 1/3 innings, including Warren’s 14th homer of the season. The left-hander threw only 39 of his 74 pitches for strikes.
TJ Lake’s straightaway homer — his first extra-base hit against a Big 12 foe since homering at Texas on April 26 — put the Mountaineers up 3-2 in the fourth.
That merely became Texas Tech’s cue to take over.
Ryan Sublette (1-0), pitching in his first game since May 5, held West Virginia to a run on two hits over 4 1/3 innings, striking out four. Dave Hanneman threw the final 3 1/3 innings for his second save. Those two Texas Tech relievers issued zero walks.
“We’ve got a lot of pitching,” Red Raiders coach Tim Tadlock said. “Really proud of the way Sub competed today. The longer he was out there the better he was. The ball started sinking and dancing a little bit.”
Tyler Doanes deposited the game’s first pitch into centerfield and Darius Hill drew a walk before Marques Inman’s RBI single to left put WVU ahead. Texas Tech left fielder Cody Master got another chance on Paul McIntosh’s medium-depth line-out, firing a pinpoint one-hopper that erased Hill at the plate.
Though Strowd struck out the side in the bottom of the first, Holt’s leadoff walk and stolen base preceded Klein’s game-tying single.
Texas Tech starter Mason Montgomery was lifted in the second inning after Ivan Gonzalez’s single and one-out walks to Lake and Tevin Tucker. When Doanes greeted side-arming reliever Ryan Sublette with hard-hit sac-fly to right field, West Virginia led 2-1.
“I thought we had a chance the first two innings to break the game open early,” Mazey said.
Presented with its own bases-loaded opportunity in the bottom of the second — courtesy of Strowd walking two batters and hitting another — Texas Tech scored only once, when WVU couldn’t turn a double play on Holt’s weak grounder.