Co-Big 12 regular season champ West Virginia wraps up the regular season in Texas – The Gold and Blue Nation Podcast
Nationally ranked West Virginia (39-16, 15-9 Big 12) has earned the No. 3 seed in the Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship. The Mountaineers will face sixth-seeded Texas Tech (37-19, 12-12 Big 12) in the opening round of the tournament on Wednesday, May 24, at 8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
This is far from the first time the Red Raiders and WVU have met at the Big 12 Tournament. In fact, this will be the seventh postseason meeting between the two programs, but the first since 2019. It will also be the first-ever meeting at Globe Life Field.
West Virginia has fared very well against Tim Tadlock’s crew at the conference tournament in the past, and will hope to recreate that success on Wednesday.
2016 – First round, 9-4 win for West Virginia
One day after starter-turned-reliever Ross Vance pitched 8 2/3 innings of one-hit baseball in relief of starter Michael Grove against Oklahoma, Randy Mazey had to turn to his bullpen early once again against Texas Tech. Starter Chad Donato lasted just 1 1/3 innings before having to exit the game prematurely. BJ Myers (4 2/3 IP) and Blake Smith (3 IP) pitched the rest of the way, striking out seven while allowing just five hits.
A bases-clearing, three-RBI triple by Kyle Davis broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning. It was part of a four-RBI day for Davis, one of three Mountaineer hitters with a multi-RBI performance. The win vaulted the Mountaineers into the tournament semifinals.
2017 – Elimination game, 12-7 win for West Virginia
On the brink of elimination, the Mountaineers squared off against the No. 3 team in the country, featuring future first-round pick Josh Jung. Alek Manoah, a fellow first-round selection in the 2019 MLB Draft, started the game on the mound, pitching 4 2/3 innings that yielded mixed results. West Virginia trailed 6-3 entering the eighth inning.
Pitcher Isaiah Kearns blasted the second and final home run of his WVU career in the eighth. Down by two runs in the ninth, a single by hit Jackson Cramer led to a TTU fielding error, which allowed Cramer and the lead runner to score and tie the game at six runs apiece. The Mountaineers then erupted for six runs in the top of the tenth inning, highlighted by a bases-clearing double from Cramer. The WVU first baseman was one of five West Virginia hitters to have a multi-hit game against the Big 12 regular season champs, who were eliminated.
2018 – Elimination game, 12-4 win for West Virginia
Almost one year to the day later, West Virginia took on another Top 10 Texas Tech team facing elimination in the conference tournament. No extra innings were required this time around.
Every hitter in the Mountaineer lineup tallied at least one hit, leadoff hitter Braden Zarbnisky scored four runs, and the top five hitters in the lineup produced 11 hits, 10 runs scored, six RBI, and seven walks. WVU never trailed in the game, and used a four-run third inning and three-run fourth inning to break the contest open. Texas Tech committed five errors on the day.
2019 – Three games over a three-day period, West Virginia advances
WVU and TTU met at the Big 12 Championship at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark for the fourth year in a row. There wouldn’t be just one game between the two clubs, though. Instead, they met three times over a three-day span, trading blows like a pair of heavyweight boxers.
Game 1: West Virginia 5, Texas Tech 1
Alek Manoah was masterful. Manoah pitched eight innings, giving up just one run on four hits while racking up 10 punchies. WVU’s lineup scored two runs in the fourth inning to take the lead, and then added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth to give Manoah a little breathing room. With the win, WVU was off to a 2-0 start to the tournament.
Game 2: Texas Tech 10, West Virginia 3
The Red Raiders staved off elimination for a few extra hours. WVU led 3-2 entering the bottom of the fifth, where Texas Tech’s lineup tallied four runs to take the lead and never look back. The win by Tadlock’s group created an elimination game scenario for both clubs later in the day.
Game 3: West Virginia 2, Texas Tech 0
Ryan Bergert and Zach Ottinger combined for a nine-inning, one-hit shutout. The Mountaineer duo faced just three batters over the minimum and pitched six 1-2-3 frames. Darius Hill drove in the first run with a sacrifice fly in the third inning. Marques Inman added the final run of the pitcher’s duel in the sixth on a groundout. With the win, West Virginia advanced to the tournament title game the following day.