The West Virginia Mountaineers (21-12, 5-5) beat the No. 11 Texas Tech Red Raiders (22-10, 5-5) inside Monongalia County Ballpark 2-0 Friday Night. Alek Manoah pitched his first career complete game and ended the night with 15 strikeouts, the first to do so since David Maust’s 15 against Cleveland State on March 11, 2001.
Darius Hill drilled a two out hard line-drive double into rightfield in the bottom of the first inning to provide a spark for the Mountaineers. Marcus Inman followed it up with a hard ground ball through the gap on the right side as Hill came racing home and sliding head first for the games first run.
The Mountaineers scored again with two outs in the third after Darius Hill reached on a fielder’s choice and Marcus Inman took first on a walk to put two on as Paul McIntosh headed to the plate. McIntosh delivered with a line-drive back up the middle as Hill again raced around third and safely slid head first into home.
Texas Tech came into the game as the Big 12’s leader in slugging percentage (.486) and runs (261). West Virginia starting pitcher Alek Manoah (5-2) held them to just four hits and a complete game shutout.
Manoah started the game hot, striking out the first two and retiring the side in the second inning to get him going. Then in the third and with two outs, Alek fell behind in the count 3-0, but came back and ended the inning striking out Braxton Fulford.
“That’s what he does when you challenge him a little bit and challenge his pride, he gets better.” Said WVU head coach Randy Mazey. “He’s just that competitive of a kid. If everybody that played baseball was that competitive, it would be an unbelievable sport, cause he just refuses to lose. He just goes out there and puts his heart on the line every time he pitches and has the stuff to back it up.”
The Red Raiders appeared to be threatening in the top of the eighth after a lead-off double from Cameron Warren. However, Manoah shut the door on any hopes for a Texas Tech rally ending the inning striking out the side.
Mountaineer closer Sam Kessler was warming up in the bullpen, but Manoah came charging out of the dugout to start the ninth inning.
Gabe Holt started the ninth with a base hit up the middle, but was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice from Cole Stillwell.
It appeared bats were starting to find the ball, despite Manoah still bringing heat, throwing in the mid 90’s and with arguably the best hitter in baseball coming to the plate in Josh Jung, WVU head coach Randy Mazey made a trip to the mound. However, he wasn’t taking out his ace.
“Taking him out of the game wasn’t even a thought at that point.” Stated Mazey. “I just wanted to talk to him about how we we’re going to pitch to one of the best hitters the United States.”
“I’ve been fighting him all year to throw a complete game and he came out and the entire crowd was like ‘No! No! No!’ I was like ‘you hear that right?’” Monoah said with a smile. “He was like ‘no you’re good I’m not pulling you.’ He just wanted to talk to me about what to throw Josh Jung, who is a really talented hitter, I think we executed that plan.”
Manoah continued his dominance, rising to the challenge and striking out Jung. “He did a good job, he executed everything we talked about.” Explained Mazey.
“He was super good tonight.” Boasted Mazey There’s nothing you can say, that he didn’t do well. He pitched ahead in the count. Didn’t walk anybody, a ton of strikeouts and was as good at the end as he was at the beginning.”
The Mountaineers and the Red Raider meet in game two of the three game series Saturday afternoon at 4:00 pm est inside Monongalia County Ballpark.
|Team Batting Totals||29||2||6||2||1||0||0||2||10||0||0||0||5||3||1||27||6||0||—|