GRANVILLE, W.Va. – On Friday, West Virginia defeated visiting TCU thanks to great pitching and two powerful swings of the bat.
On Saturday, the Mountaineers got another solid performance from their bullpen, and one big inning that turned the game on its head.
A six-run bottom of the sixth inning vaulted West Virginia (28-11, 7-4 Big 12) to victory in the second game of the weekend series. Ellis Garcia battled through adversity within his at-bat in the inning and homered to give the Mountaineers a lead they did not relinquish.
A 7-4 victory claims the series, and gives WVU a chance to go for a series sweep for the second weekend in a row.
Texas Christian (22-17, 7-7 Big 12) scored a run in each of the first two innings of the game. WVU starter Blaine Traxel worked around early trouble, stranding a combined five runners through his first four innings on the mound.
Dayne Leonard drove in a run in the bottom of the fourth to cut the deficit in half.
TCU took a 4-1 lead in the fifth, as Karson Bowen plated a pair of runs on a single with two strikes and two outs in the frame. That inning was Traxel’s last, as he was responsible for three earned runs on eight hits across five innings of work.
Relievers Maxx Yehl and Grant Siegel worked around trouble in the sixth, stranding the bases loaded to keep TCU off the board. The three outs they recorded proved pivotal.
Clouds and cooler weather rolled into Wagener Field between frames, but the Mountaineer bats heated up.
Each of the first five hitters of the bottom of the sixth reached base for WVU. Sam White tripled down the right field line to score one run, and Landon Wallace singled home two more to tie the game at four runs apiece. Wallace’s hot streak continued Saturday, as the Nevada transfer went 3 for 4 at the dish with two RBI and a run scored. He has now collected at least one hit in 13 straight games.
Three batters later, freshman Ellis Garcia, hitting with two men on base, was instructed to lay down a bunt to move the runners over. Garcia failed to get the bunt down in his first two attempts, putting him in an 0-2 hole. Randy Mazey called Garcia over to him in front of the first base dugout, and told the young hitter to “flush it,” according to Garcia.
He flushed it, alright. Garcia battled back to have an even count. And then he hammered the 2-2 pitch over the raised fence down the left-field line. The three-run blast was his third round-tripper of the season, his only hit of the game, and it gave the Mountaineers a 7-4 lead.
TCU was held scoreless over the final four innings of the contest.
Sophomore Aidan Major pitched a three-inning save, giving up just two hits and striking out four batters during his nine outs on the mound. It marked his first appearance without allowing a run since March 8 against Canisius. However, it comes on the heels of Major throwing 5 1/3 innings of stellar baseball on the road last weekend against Oklahoma State.
Major retired the side in order in the ninth to secure the win for WVU.
With the win, West Virginia has now collected victories in four of the five games played without JJ Wetherholt in the lineup. Wetherholt has been sidelined since April 15 with a left-hand injury.
Tevin Tucker went 2 for 3 at the plate. He also walked once, and scored twice. Tucker is batting at a .615 average (16 for 26) over his last seven games.
West Virginia will go for the series sweep on Sunday. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. from Wagener Field at Monongalia County Ballpark. The game will be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.