OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Senior left-handed pitcher Jackson Wolf went the distance to help the Mountaineers upset No. 2 Texas, 5-1, at the 2021 Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship on Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Wolf allowed one run on five hits with seven strikeouts on a career-high 138 pitches in the eighth-seeded Mountaineers’ triumph over the top-seeded Longhorns. The result tied the highest-ranked win in program history, matching WVU’s victory over the Longhorns on May 20, in Austin.
“That’s the best I’ve ever seen him pitch,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said of Wolf. “In games like that, you know you’re going to end up facing the meat on their order either in the eighth or ninth inning. So, when he got through those guys in the middle of the order, and when those guys are swinging like that, that’s any pitcher at his finest. That’s as good as he’s ever been.”
WVU (25-25) finished with five runs on six hits with no errors, while the Longhorns (40-14) tallied one run on five hits with one error. Wolf earned his sixth win of the year, while UT’s Ty Madden suffered the loss.
After a scoreless first inning, fifth-year senior Hudson Byorick gave the Mountaineers a 1-0 lead with a solo home run to left. It marked the third big fly of the campaign for Byorick and his first since April 2.
From there, Wolf put together one of the grittiest performances of his Mountaineer career. After allowing a first-inning hit, the All-Big 12 Second Team selection didn’t yield another until the sixth. In all, he retired 13 of 14 hitters at one point from the end of the first until the fifth.
WVU added to its lead with a two-run top of the fifth. First, Tyler Doanes hit a sacrifice fly, scoring Alec Burns, before Kevin Brophy also crossed home on a wild pitch. That gave the Mountaineers a 3-0 advantage.
Texas put its first run on the board with a leadoff, solo homer in the bottom of the sixth to make it 3-1, and it loaded the bases in the seventh. But Wolf was able to get out of the jam with an inning-ending pop out in the infield to preserve the lead. That led to a three-strikeout inning in the eighth for the 6-foot-7 lefty, before the Mountaineers added a pair of insurance runs in the ninth.
First, Brophy registered an RBI triple, before scoring on a wild pitch for the second time on the night. That gave West Virginia a 5-1 lead as it headed toward the finish line.
Brophy led the way with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate in the win. He tallied an RBI and scored two runs.
Wolf’s nine-inning, complete game, which was capped by a game-ending double play, marked WVU’s first since Nick Snyder on April 30, 2019, against Marshall. He also tallied his 100th strikeout of the 2021 campaign in the win, becoming just the fourth Mountaineer pitcher since 2000 to accomplish the feat.
With the victory, WVU improved to 15-10 all-time against the Longhorns, as well as 15-12 at the Big 12 Championship. Of note, Wednesday’s game marked the first-ever, postseason contest between the two schools.
Next up, the Mountaineers advance to the winner’s bracket to take on the winner of No. 4-seed Oklahoma State and fifth-seeded Oklahoma on Thursday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. First pitch is set for 8:30 p.m.
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