Easter was not WVU’s day from the get-go.
No. 5 Oklahoma State took the series against the Mountaineers on Sunday with a 13-3 victory in eight innings. The Cowboys hung five runs on West Virginia in the opening frame, including three home runs to build an insurmountable advantage for the hosts and their second-worst loss at Monongalia County Ballpark.
Zach Bravo (3-1) took the mound to start the contest and struggled from the start. He threw balls on his first five pitches, walking the first batter he faced before the second Cowboy batter reached base on an error by the second baseman Mikey Kluska.
Then came the flood — Jake Thompson recorded his first of three RBIs with a sacrifice fly, then David Mendham sent a two-run home run into the left field bullpen to bring the lead to three. Two batters later, the Cowboys added back-to-back home runs: shortstop Marcus Brown sent a homer off the porch in right field, then Griffin Doersching put another down the left field line and onto University Town Centre Drive.
“Everybody’s natural tendency is when you give up five runs in the first inning is like, ‘Man, you guys didn’t show up today,'” said WVU coach Randy Mazey. “That’s not really the case ever, our guys showed up ready to play and just ran into a really good hitting team that hit three home runs in the first inning and when you do that, it seems like it deflates everybody.”
Bravo left the game after the first inning with three hits and five runs, two of which were earned, plus a strikeout.
Bryce Osmond (3-1), on the other hand, utilized that run support and gave the Cowboys a gem from the mound. He was perfect until the fourth inning when he hit JJ Wetherholt in the knee with a fastball, and didn’t give up a hit until designated hitter Nathan Blasick hit a solo home run to right field in the fifth.
Osmond left the game with three hits allowed, three runs and 11 strikeouts.
Carlson Reed took the brunt of WVU’s pitching workload as the first arm out of the bullpen, working for three innings and giving up two runs on four hits. The Mountaineers trotted five more arms out of the bullpen and only two of whom — Chase Smith and Zach Ottinger — finished at least a full inning without an earned run allowed.
Blasick added another hit in the seventh with an RBI single up the middle that scored McGwire Holbrook. WVU’s DH was the only Mountaineer with multiple hits, while Holbrook was the only other man with a hit.
Blasick was in the starting lineup for the second straight game on Sunday and logged home runs in both games.
“[Blasick] has got to hit a couple home runs against really good pitching,” Mazey said. “The bottom of our lineup the whole season hasn’t produced a ton, so I’m just trying to find some pieces that may help us moving forward.”
Oklahoma State’s Cayden Brumbaugh led the game with three hits from the ninth spot in the batting order. Mendham added another extra-base hit in the sixth inning with a double.
The Cowboys surpass the Mountaineers for the top spot in the Big 12 standings with the series win, improving to a 9-3 record in the league with a 26-10 overall mark. WVU sits a game-and-a-half behind Oklahoma State with a 6-3 conference record and a 22-12 overall record.
WVU next travels to Pittsburgh for the second edition of this season’s Backyard Brawl series at PNC Park. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. ET on ACC NetworkX.
“This was an anomaly for our team,” Mazey said. “We’ve got a good team, and I promise you we’ll be ready for the Panthers.”