Alek Manoah (right) celebrates with Jackson Cramer during the 2017 Big 12 tournament (Aaron Fitt)

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Dispatches From Bricktown: Day 3

Notebook

BELOW:
• Peaking West Virginia earns manic comeback win against Texas Tech
• TCU’s Brian Howard turns in a vintage performance against Kansas

OKLAHOMA CITY — In each of West Virginia’s first three Big 12 tournament games, it has out-hit its opponent. The Mountaineers have looked pretty darn scary on offense after racking up 44 hits in three games, and they’ve made numerous highlight-reel plays on defense.

But for all of its offensive prowess and standout defense, WVU found itself on the brink of elimination after seven innings Friday against Texas Tech, trailing 6-3.

“Same story — we out-hit the other team in all three games down here. You look up again in the third or fourth inning and we’re out-hitting the heck out of people and they’re outscoring us,” West Virginia coach Randy Mazey said. “But we got the bats going. We got some big hits.”

The turnaround started in the eighth inning when pinch-hitter Isaiah Kearns — whose complete-game on the mound Wednesday got the Mountaineers started off on the right foot this week — obliterated a Jacob Patterson changeup for a solo homer that went clear out of the ballpark, over the Bricktown sign on the roof beyond the left-field stands. That got the Mountaineers back within two runs and injected them with some momentum, which would eventually culminate in a wild 12-7 win in 10 innings.

“That was the biggest play of the game, in my opinion,” said senior first baseman Jackson Cramer, who would be responsible for two more really, really big plays in the following two innings. “He’s coming off the bench, wasn’t in the lineup and doesn’t have many at-bats on the year. He just pitched well earlier in the tournament, and for him to hit a home run like that — probably the farthest ball I’ve ever seen hit, especially in this ballpark. That definitely gave us some life. That kept us in the ballgame and gave us the chance to come back in the 10th and win it.”


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