After a tough series opener on Friday, McGwire Holbrook bounced back in game two, knocking in four runs to help lift West Virginia over the 5th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys 5-2 on Saturday.
The catcher Holbrook logged a 1-for-2 day at the plate for the Mountaineers, ripping a two-run 407-foot home run over the left field fence in his first at-bat of the game. That was WVU’s second homer of the game, after designated hitter Nathan Blasick launched a 417-foot bomb to center field in the second inning.
The story of WVU’s game, however, was truly written on the base paths. The Mountaineers stole seven bases in the game, which ups the season total to 115, the all-time record for the program. Victor Scott II had four of those steals, which brought his tally to 30 in the campaign, now WVU’s individual single-season record.
“I love when those guys run,” said WVU skipper Randy Mazey. “I love watching them, they’re dynamic players.”
Austin Davis also provided some heroics in the fifth inning. He led the frame off with a line drive to left center field. For most hitters, it would have been a routine single, but he managed to dig it out to second for a double.
Two batters later, Davis stole third base, sliding headfirst into the bag. As Davis rose to dust himself off, Oklahoma State third baseman Aidan Meola held his glove on the runner. Davis pushed Meola’s glove away, which rose tensions across the diamond and triggered a replay review to see if Davis came off the base.
The steal was upheld, and on the ensuing at-bat, Holbrook drove Davis in with a sacrifice grounder for his third RBI.
“In a game like this when your team needs to see you fight like that, I love the way AD played today,” Mazey said. “He needs to tone it down a little bit, but his competitiveness is just off the charts, his desire to win, that’s what makes him a good player.”
Three of WVU’s runs were scored on Victor Medoros (3-2), who worked four innings on the mound for the Cowboys. He gave up six hits and struck out three Mountaineers.
Ben Hampton tossed 111 pitches in 5.1 frames, allowing two runs on four hits. He also walked four Cowboys and struck out five more before getting relieved by Noah Short in the sixth.
“He pitched out of some jams. His strikeout numbers aren’t as high as they’ve been, but he doesn’t make it easy to hit, so…that’s six [wins] for him now, and we’re just past the halfway point,” Mazey said. “He’s killing it, we just have to keep him fresh and strong the rest of the season.”
The game’s controversy continued in the seventh inning as Short took the mound. Oklahoma State manager Josh Holliday took exception to Short’s fast-working style of pitching, asking for a replay review of one of his outs. The umpires later checked on a similar issue with the next batter, but regardless, Short recorded a 1-2-3 inning and finished the game without allowing a runner on base.
Trey Braithwaite recorded his fourth save of the season, closing out the last two innings for West Virginia, giving up a hit with a strikeout.
In total, Oklahoma State knocked five hits against WVU. David Mendham recorded OSU’s first RBI of the contest in the fourth inning, sending Griffin Doersching home. Jake Thompson added another run from the plate on a fielder’s choice in the fifth.
In addition to Davis’s speedy double, he also recorded a double play in the sixth inning with a diving catch in right field before throwing out the runner on second base who didn’t tag up.
The rubber match between West Virginia and No. 5 Oklahoma State is set for 1 p.m. ET on Easter Sunday. WVU’s Zach Bravo (3-0, 5.20 ERA) will square off against Oklahoma State’s Bryce Osmond (2-1, 4.19 ERA), and it will be shown on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.