It sure didn’t seem like WVU baseball pitchers Ross Vance and BJ Myers weren’t ready to pitch in recent games.
The pair of pitchers were not starters for the Mountaineers in the Big 12 Tournament opening and second round games against Oklahoma and Texas Tech, respectively. However, they both served in long haul roles for the team in both games.
As the Mountaineers opened the conference tournament against the Sooners on Wednesday, Michael Grove took to the hill looking to continue his strong starts which came at the end of the regular season.
Grove didn’t get that chance as he was sidelined in the first inning. Grove awkwardly fielded a ball off the pitchers mound in the opening frame and was injured on the play.
Not yet warmed up by any means, Vance came in and filled in admirably for Grove. Vance, a senior, shut out the Sooners as his hitters did the right amount of work to secure a victory.
However, it was Vance’s ability to fight through the unknown to record a solid victory. He didn’t allow a run while striking out seven over 8.2 innings. Only four OU batters reached base under Vance’s watch, just one baserunner came by way of a base hit.
For Vance to adapt to the conditions on the field and rise up shows how resilient the players are for head coach Randy Mazey. He gets the players ready for these situations and makes sure that they are ready to play, and go beyond the call of duty, when needed.
Vance’s outing, under the circumstances, is fairly rare. For a similar situation to happen to the WVU baseball team again would just be freaky.
It wasn’t “Freaky Friday” for the Mountaineers against Texas Tech, but it was “Tumultuous Thursday.”
Myers helped pitch the team to a 9-4 win over the top-seeded Red Raiders, but he really wasn’t supposed to be in there either.
Original West Virginia starting pitcher Chad Donato, a first-team All-Big 12 selection, suffered an injury fielding a ball in the second inning.
Like Grove the day before him, Donato was in an awkward position and suffered mightily from the play.
Myers, like Vance, buckled down, didn’t complain and went out in dominant fashion against the Red Raiders.
Myers pitched 4.2 innings and struck out three batters to earn the win. He did give up two runs on just two hits, but to come in unexpectedly and pitch effectively deserves to be applauded.
Also, Blake Smith jumped in on the mound and went three innings in relief of Myers. Smith allowed two runs on three hits as the Mountaineers advanced to the Big 12 semifinals.
On Saturday, the WVU baseball team will face either Texas Tech, again, or Oklahoma, again. Both wins in the early rounds of the tournament were seemingly easy victories for the Mountaineers.
Even though they will be playing a familiar team again, the road to a championship won’t get any easier, especially without Grove or Donato.