Baseball, WVU Sports

Hussey, Traxel power No. 12 WVU to a 17-2 victory against Texas Tech to even series

GRANVILLE — West Virginia’s latest baseball victory Saturday turned into an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show.

You get a hit. You get a run. You get an RBI.

In terms of Mountaineers’ power-hitting first baseman Grant Hussey, he got a little bit off all three and a little more.

The former Parkersburg South star hit two home runs — his 12th and 13th of the season — to lead No. 12 WVU to a dominating 17-2 victory against Texas Tech in front of 3,227 fans inside Mon County Ballpark.


“I’ve been seeing pitches well,” said Hussey, who finished 3 for 4 with four RBIs. “I think today was my 100th career game, so it’s a matter of maturing and seeing pitches well.”

It’s also a matter of quickly forgetting a bad day and moving on, which Hussey did quite well in this one. On Friday against the Red Raiders (35-17, 10-10 Big 12), he was 0 for 4 with four strikeouts.

“You play the same game every day,” he said. “You go home and go to bed, you come to the field and play the same game you did yesterday.”

Just with different results this time around, as the Mountaineers (38-13, 14-6) scored in every inning but two and put up the most runs scored against Texas Tech this season.

“Hitters are crazy people sometimes, and it’s a super-mental game,” WVU manager Randy Mazey said. “It just takes one swing sometimes to get you in a good mental place as a hitter. He had a couple of good swings.”

WVU’s victory tied the series with Texas Tech with Sunday’s 1 p.m. game serving as the tiebreaker.

The Mountaineers also tied a program record set last year with their 14th victory in Big 12 play and now need just two more victories over their final four games to secure the school’s first-ever Big 12 baseball championship.

That’s a story still in the making. As far as Saturday went, there were plenty of other stories to be told.

Braden Barry also homered and doubled and drove in three runs, while Landon Wallace added two doubles and three RBIs.

J.J. Wetherholt had two hits for his 29th multi-hit game of the season and pitcher Blaine Traxel dominated the No. 1 offense in the Big 12.

Traxel went eight innings and gave up just two runs — on two solo home runs once the game was well out of reach for the Red Raiders — while scattering six hits and striking out six.

He pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning with a strikeout to end that potential rally, but came out after the eighth and missed out on what could have been his sixth complete game of the season.

“Every time I come out, I want to pitch the whole game,” Traxel said. “It’s always a fight every time (Mazey) tells me I’m done. If I feel good, I’ll fight him. If not, I’ll let him go, but he knew it was going to be a little bit of a battle, for sure.”

As much offense WVU provided Saturday, it’s been the Mountaineers’ pitching that’s been the story.

Texas Tech leads the Big 12 in runs scored and RBIs, but has been held to just seven runs over the first two games of the series.

“That’s what (Ben) Hampton and Traxel do, they beat good teams,” Mazey said. “The football equivalent of what Texas Tech’s (baseball) offense is a team that goes out and averages 48 or 50 points a game. They’re just so hard to contain and so many guys who can hit homers.

“We can’t give up free passes. I think Traxel only had one today. We’ve got to continue to attack the strike zone and hopefully we can outslug them.”

Texas Tech star first baseman Gavin Kash — the Big 12’s leader with 23 home runs — is a combined 0 for 7 with a walk in the series.

“You just don’t want to make it bigger than what it is,” Traxel said of facing the Red Raiders’ lineup. “All hitters are good at this level. You just have to attack everybody like they’re the best and you’ll always be good with that.”

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