Baseball, WVU Sports

Blaine Traxel goes the distance again, shuts out Baylor to give No. 18 WVU the series win

MORGANTOWN — Blaine Traxel threw his nation-leading fifth complete game of the season and No. 18 West Virginia won its fourth Big 12 series of the season with a 10-0 victory against Baylor on Saturday.

Traxel needed 109 pitches to throw the Mountaineers’ first individual shutout since Nick Snyder one-hit Marshall in April 2019.

WVU (32-11, 10-4 Big 12) also held UNC Greensboro scoreless earlier this season, needing five pitchers for that one.

With a strong wind blowing in at Baylor Ballpark in Waco, Texas, Traxel (6-3) continually pounded the strike zone daring the Bears (15-28, 6-14) to come up with a big hit.

They didn’t.

Traxel struck out six, walked none and scattered six hits.

J.J. Wetherholt marked his return to playing second base with three hits and two RBIs. He drove in Braden Barry in the second on a fielder’s choice and then slammed his 10th home run of the season in the seventh inning to give the Mountaineers a 2-0 lead.

Wetherholt had played WVU’s last three games as a designated hitter after missing five games with a dislocated thumb.

His three hits on Saturday gave Wetherholt his 23rd multi-hit game of the season and he continues to lead the Big 12 with a .456 batting average.

Much of the action for WVU happened late in the game. It began in the eighth, when Caleb McNeely walked with the bases loaded and Dayne Leonard was hit by a pitch to score another run.

Landon Wallace, who was hit by three pitches one day after taking a pitch to the face, then scored on a balk call that Wallace forced while trying to steal home.

In the ninth, Grant Hussey hit his team-leading 11th home run of the season to right field, before Wallace drove in a run getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

Evan Smith, who doubled home the winning runs for the Mountaineers in Friday’s 5-4 victory, then scored three more runs when his fly ball to left field was dropped for an error.

The Mountaineers have now won three consecutive Big 12 series, which also includes a sweep of TCU and taking two-of-three against Oklahoma State.

WVU, which has won its last six games against Baylor, remains at the top of the Big 12 standings heading into Sunday’s final game of the series, which begins at noon, with freshman Robby Porco expected to get the start for the Mountaineers.

Barry also added three hits for WVU, including a double and Tevin Tucker drew four walks and scored twice.

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