West Virginia hit itself to another first inning lead, but this time, it was able to hang on.
WVU (16-10, 2-1 Big 12) knocked in nine hits against TCU (19-9, 6-3) on Sunday to take a 5-2 victory over the 12th-ranked Horned Frogs and earn its first Big 12 series win at TCU’s Lupton Baseball Stadium.
The Mountaineers relied on some late-game heroics from reliever Trey Braithwaite, who slammed the door shut for his second save of the season. He finished out the last 3.2 innings of the contests without a hit, while striking out three batters.
That was Braithwaite’s second appearance in the series after tossing two innings in the opener, and he heads back to Morgantown without allowing a hit in Fort Worth.
Braithwaite’s was a crucial performance for WVU as its offense slowed in the latter innings of the game. WVU scored its first two runs in the first frame, when it logged its first five hits of the game, then added another three in the fourth inning. The Mountaineers recorded just two more hits in the last five innings, however, but TCU wasn’t able to take advantage of the drought.
TCU’s defense was, however, able to negate one of the most important factors in the Mountaineers’ offense — its small-ball mentality. WVU, which averaged 3.88 steals per game entering the series finale, stole one base on Sunday and was caught stealing twice. The Mountaineers were also unable to lay down their patented bunts, but made up for it with their nine hits.
Zach Bravo (3-0) earned his third win in a high-volume start, working five innings for the Mountaineers and allowing two runs on four hits. He added a pair of strikeouts and a trio of walks in the effort as he reached a season-high pitch count of 100.
Bravo’s only allowed run came in the fourth inning on an RBI single by Bobby Goodloe. That was one of four hits recorded by the Horned Frogs all game.
Goodloe added another RBI in the sixth inning on a sacrifice grounder to top of TCU’s scoring.
Brett Walker (3-1) took the loss after six full innings on the bump, allowing all of WVU’s five runs and seven of its hits. He struck out four Mountaineers, and allowed a walk.
All nine of WVU’s hits were spread out among its nine starters, with Tevin Tucker finishing with a team-high two RBIs, both of which he earned from a double that hit off the wall in left-center field, inches away from a home run.
WVU takes its second weekend series of the season with the victory and its first in the league. TCU, on the other end, drops its first Big 12 weekend series. The Mountaineers slide in to fifth place in the league, while TCU slides to third in the standings.
The Mountaineers return to Morgantown for an in-state rivalry clash against Marshall on Wednesday. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. ET on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.