WACO, Texas – The West Virginia University baseball team took down Baylor, 8-4, on Sunday afternoon at Baylor Ballpark in Waco, Texas.
The Mountaineers took the series finale over the Bears with a come-from-behind effort, highlighted by three runs in the fifth and sixth innings. In all, WVU finished with eight runs on 10 hits with no errors, while BU tallied four runs on six hits with two errors.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Ben Hampton earned the win for the Mountaineers, his third of the year. Baylor’s Hayden Kettler took the loss.
With the victory, WVU coach Randy Mazey earned his 250th career win at West Virginia.
“We’ve been down this whole season and had a chance to get swept, on the road, inside the league, so the guys had every opportunity to pack up the tents,” Mazey said. “We even went down in the game, but to find a way to rally and make a comeback was a good sign.
“Every time you have a good season, there’s always a turning point. Hopefully, this will be it.”
Baylor (21-11, 3-6 Big 12) took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first with a pair of sacrifice flies. From there, though, Hampton settled in nicely, retiring the Bears on just four pitches in the second and eight in the third. In all, he sent down eight in a row from the end of the first to the start of the fourth inning.
BU added to its lead in the fourth to make it 3-0, moments before the Mountaineer offense kicked it in gear. First, WVU (12-14, 4-5 Big 12) tied it with a three-run fifth, before taking control with three more in the sixth.
Senior infielder Tyler Doanes began the comeback bid by smacking a two-run single in the fifth, getting West Virginia to within a run at 3-2. Two batters later, sophomore outfielder Victor Scott leveled the game with a sacrifice fly to center.
In the sixth, redshirt sophomore catcher/outfielder Vince Ippoliti gave WVU the lead on an RBI single to right, which led to sophomore catcher/infielder Matt McCormick’s two-run homer to make it 6-3.
The big fly was the Orland Park, Illinois, native’s sixth of the year and second in as many days.
WVU tacked on another run in the seventh when Ippoliti hit a sac fly, scoring Scott to extend the lead to four.
On the mound, Hampton remained strong, tossing a career-high 6.2 innings of work. He allowed three runs on four hits with four strikeouts on 76 pitches.
“When we get a good start with a guy pitching into the seventh inning, we have a good chance to have success,” Mazey said of Hampton.
Following Hampton, redshirt sophomore right-hander Noah Short finished the job, tossing the remaining 2.1 innings of the game. The Scott Depot, West Virginia, native allowed one run on two hits with two punchouts out of the bullpen.
The Mountaineers bumped their lead to 8-3 in the eighth, when freshman infielder Mikey Kluska singled to right center, scoring fifth-year senior infielder Kevin Brophy. The Bears scratched across a run in home half of the frame but couldn’t draw any closer.
Sunday’s win snapped West Virginia’s five-game losing streak. It also marked WVU’s first win over Baylor since May 17, 2018. Following the three-game series, BU leads the Mountaineers, 14-11, in 25 total meetings.
Ippoliti and McCormick each finished with a pair of hits on Sunday, while a trio of Mountaineers – Ippoliti, McCormick and Doanes – registered two RBI.
In all, eight of WVU’s nine starters tallied at least one hit.
Next up, the Mountaineers return home to take on in-state foe Marshall on Wednesday, April 14, at Monongalia County Ballpark in Morgantown. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.