West Virginia suffers 12-2 loss in series opener at Texas

West Virginia’s quest for its first Big 12 Conference championship is on hold at least another day.

One win from clinching at minimum a share of the league title, the Mountaineers lost 12-2 at Texas in the opener of a three-game series at UFCU Disch-Falk Field.

Playing a Thursday Big 12 game for the first time this season, No. 6 West Virginia (39-14, 15-7) elected to start freshman pitcher Carson Estridge. The Mountaineers generally go with veteran left-hander Ben Hampton in Big 12 series openers, though every previous one this season was played Friday.

Estridge held Texas (36-18, 13-9) to one run in the first inning after the Longhorns began with three consecutive singles to load the bases.

Estridge wasn’t as fortunate in the second as Peyton Powell connected for a two-run single that left the Mountaineers in a 3-0 hole. Immediately after Maxx Yehl replaced Estridge, Texas doubled its advantage courtesy of Porter Brown’s three-run home run.

Brown, who had driven in Texas’ first run, went on to add two additional home runs and finished 4-for-4 with eight RBIs.

Not until the Mountaineers got a two-out Tevin Tucker single in the third did they generate their first of seven hits, and WVU didn’t get a runner into scoring position until the fourth frame.

Brown belted his second long ball in the fourth to make it 8-0, and he also connected for a second two-run round-tripper in the sixth.

The Mountaineers got one run in the eighth on a Braden Barry double, and they scored again in the ninth on Evan Smith’s single.

Texas’ Lucas Gordon improved 6-1 with a strong seven-inning outing. He held the Mountaineers scoreless and to four hits, while striking out eight of the 27 batters he faced.

Estridge took the loss after allowing five runs, including four earned, over 1 2/3 innings. He struck out four and issued a pair of base-on-balls. Yehl was the first of four WVU relievers utilized.

Outside of Brown’s strong showing, leadoff hitter Jared Thomas was 2-for-4 and scored twice, while Powell was also 2-for-4 with a pair of runs driven in and scored. Campbell, the No. 3 hitter, added three hits. 

Eleven of the Longhorns’ 12 hits came from the first five hitters in their batting order.

Elsewhere in the Big 12 Thursday, Oklahoma State won 13-2 at Oklahoma. The Cowboys (36-15, 14-8) are in sole possession of second place and would win the league outright by sweeping the Sooners and having the Longhorns win all three against the Mountaineers.

The 10-run margin of defeat matched West Virginia’s largest this season.

Game 2 of the series between WVU and Texas is set for 7:30 p.m Friday and will be shown on the Longhorn Network. 

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