Baseball, Sports, WVU Sports

Hussey’s homer, timely hitting helps WVU complete sweep of Baylor

GRANVILLE — If there is truly more than one way to skin a cat, West Virginia found three ways to sweep the Baylor Bears.

Power and pitching covered the first two wins. On Sunday, all the Mountaineers needed was some timely hitting from the bottom part of its order.

Grant Hussey connected on his 34th career home run — one shy of tying the school record — and the combination of Hussey, Brodie Kresser, Benjamin Lumsden and Skylar King combined for eight hits and eight runs to lead WVU to a 13-4 victory inside Kendrick Family Ballpark.

“It’s so hard to sweep anyone, but to sweep people in the Big 12 is extremely difficult,” WVU head coach Randy Mazey said. “That puts us at 14-7 (in the Big 12), so we’re in a good spot. I’ll take where we’re at, but we got a lot of work to do.”

Hussey had three hits, including a two-run home run in the second inning that puts him on the cusp of school history. The junior first baseman is now just one long ball shy of pulling even with both Jedd Gyorko and Tim McCabe.

Kresser followed him with getting hit by two pitches, one with the bases loaded, and also added a walk and a single.

Lumsden and King, who have been moved in and out of the starting lineup throughout the season, combined for four more hits with three of them doubles.

King had three RBIs in the game and Lumsden had two.

“It is a little difficult,” King said about moving in and out of the lineup. “Me and my teammates all push each other. We all know any of us can compete in any spot, so whoever gets the call is ready to go.”

King was ready this weekend against Baylor (19-23, 9-12 Big 12). He drove in six runs over the three games and had three doubles.

“As coaches, we talk about fatigue all the time,” Mazey said. “If Skylar King had 45 starts this season, he probably wouldn’t have had a good of weekend he had.

“We rested him. Lumsden has had some rest. When you play a long season and travel a lot, that’s the battle. Trying to figure out who to put in a game and at what time, and you still try to win every game; that’s a little bit tricky.”

With the win, WVU (26-16, 14-7) remained tied with Oklahoma State for second place in the Big 12 standings. Both schools are looking up at Oklahoma, which played a late doubleheader against Texas on Sunday.

Aidan Major earned his fourth win of the season and his second against a Big 12 opponent. He went 5 2/3 innings, allowed four hits and four runs, while striking out five.

Gavin Van Kempen, Maxx Yehl and Oliver Hambleton — a transfer from Baylor — combined to allow just two hits and no runs over the final three innings.

The sweep of Baylor was WVU’s 10th consecutive win against the Bears, but more importantly, helped the Mountaineers recover from getting swept at Texas Tech last week.

“We made them eager to get back in,” Mazey said. “We didn’t sugarcoat it last weekend, we were awful. Sometimes that’s what you need. Everybody needs a good slap in the face occasionally to wake you up. That’s what that sweep last weekend did. We weren’t the same team this weekend as we were last weekend.”

WVU combined for 36 runs in the sweep, its third of the season. Baylor pitchers didn’t help themselves much in the third game, allowing 11 walks and also hitting five batters. WVU’s J.J. Wetherholt was intentionally walked twice.

The Mountaineers will travel to PNC Park in Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. Tuesday to play rival Pitt, before going back on the road to face Cincinnati in a three-game series beginning Friday.