WVU Sports Woeful Weekend

TCU sweeps WVU baseball, OSU outs WVU women’s basketball Sunday to conclude tough weekend for Mountaineer athletics.

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Devin Williams (41) and Eda Ahmad (23) walk off the court following Friday’s loss to Stephen F. Austin in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  Photo by Dale Sparks / All-Pro Photography
Heading into this weekend there was a lot of hope surrounding the West Virginia athletic programs.

Both the WVU men’s and women’s basketball teams made the NCAA Tournaments, helping West Virginia be one of just 10 schools this year to have both of its basketball teams compete in the in the NCAA Tournament and have its football team compete in a bowl game.

Also this weekend, the Mountaineer baseball (10-7, 0-3) team traveled to Fort Worth, Texas to take on the seventh-ranked TCU Horned Frogs in a three-game series.

Hopes of both teams making it past the first weekend of the tournament on the hard court, as well as hopes of a big series win on the diamond did not come to fruition.

Friday started promisingly as the Mountaineer women’s (25-10) team earned a nine-point victory over Princeton in the first round. Bria Holmes led all scores with 26 points, the ninth time this season she scored 20 or more points in a game.

That was the extent of feeling good for Mountaineer nation.

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Bria Holmes (23) drives to the basket during the Mountaineers victory in the first round of the NCAA Women’s Tournament against Princeton in Columbus, Ohio.  Photo by Tyson Murray / All-Pro Photography
Later in the day, 14 seed Stephen F. Austin pulled the upset against the WVU men’s team, one of the many upsets in the first round of the tournament. After registering just two points in the first half, Devin Williams did his part, leading West Virginia with 12 points and 17 rebounds, his 16th double-double of the season.

Williams said following the game he will return for his senior season.

Esa Ahmad scored all of his 10 points in the first half.

The Mountaineers didn’t get their normal production off the bench, nor did they get scoring from Jevon Carter or Daxter Miles Jr., who finished with four and two points, respectively.

Two games removed from holding Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield – the best player in the country – to just six points in the Big 12 Tournament, West Virginia’s stout defense allowed Thomas Walkup to score 33 points.

West Virginia’s baseball team was also in action Friday, and had a quick start against TCU, scoring a pair of runs in the first inning. West Virginia led 6-3 going into the late innings, but the TCU bats broke out in the eighth, scoring seven runs against the Mountaineer bullpen.

WVU dropped game one 10-6.

Texas Christian had a much easier time in game two of the series, spreading out seven runs on 10 hits and knocking West Virginia’s Ross Vance out of the game early.

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WVU starting pitcher Chad Donato delivers a pitch during the Mountaineer baseball team’s game Friday night against TCU. Donato once again pitched well enough himself to get the win but his team didn’t help him out enough, and he remains winless on the season.  Photo via wvusports.com
Vance suffered his first loss of the season.

TCU’s Brian Howard limited the Mountaineer bats to just two hits and one run during his seven innings of work as he moved to 4-0 on the year.

Mike Carey’s team was back on the hardwood in Columbus early Sunday afternoon, taking on host three seed Ohio State.

West Virginia led by six points after the first quarter, and the two teams were tied at 39 apiece heading into halftime. The Buckeyes broke things open in the third quarter, though, outscoring West Virginia 13-6 through the opening five minutes of the second half.

West Virginia, led as always by Holmes, managed to cut Ohio State’s lead to one possession on multiple occasions throughout the second half, but the Mountaineers couldn’t even up the score or take the lead despite the good opportunities.

Holmes, a senior, ended her collegiate career with 21 points, three rebounds and a trio of assists. The last two of her points, coming on a pair of free throws with 27 seconds remaining in the game, cut the deficit to three, but more importantly, marked points No. 2,000 and 2,001 of her career, just the third Lady Mountaineer to reach that mark.

Turnovers were the story of the game. Ohio State forced West Virginia to turn the ball over 27 times. The high volume of turnovers led to OSU scoring a number of its baskets in transition.

Kelsey Mitchell set an Ohio State NCAA Tournament scoring record with her 45-point performance Sunday. She scored over half of the Buckeye’s total 88 points in the 88-81 victory.

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Bria Holmes (23) is fouled on a layup attempt during Sunday’s loss against Ohio State.  Photo by Tyson Murray / All-Pro Photography
Back on the diamond attempting to avoid the sweep, West Virginia scored a pair of runs in the top of the first on a two-RBI single by freshman Marques Inman.

Texas Christian wasted no time responding, scoring four runs in the bottom of the frame on a grand slam by Luken Baker. The four-run long ball cut BJ Myers’ start short, as the former Big-12 Pitcher of the Week lasted just one full inning.

TCU added runs in each of the next two innings to take a 7-2 lead early on. The Horned Frogs then added five runs in the fourth to take a 10 run advantage.

The TCU bats outscored West Virginia’s 14-1 from the eighth inning of game one through the nine innings of game two. Horned Frog pitchers continued to keep Mountaineer batters at bay during game three, meanwhile TCU scored in each of the first five innings.

Behind an offensive explosion, the Horned Frogs picked up an easy victory in game three to complete the sweep, 14-2 in seven innings. The three loses go as the first series the Mountaineers have lost this season.

SILVER LININGS

Despite the rough weekend WVU fans have plenty to look forward to.

Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams showed a lot of depth this season, which bodes well for the future, especially when Bob Huggins is losing just two seniors – Jaysean Paige and Jonathan Holton – and Carey is graduating only three players – Holmes, Jessica Morton, and Arielle Roberson. The two programs have bright futures.

Jackson Cramer and Kyle Davis each managed to keep streaks alive during the series. With a single in the sixth inning Cramer extended his streak of consecutive games reaching base safely to 37 games. Davis kept his streak going with a walk to lead off the game, pushing his mark to 35 games. With a single in the third inning Davis also pushed his hit streak to 15 consecutive games.

NEXT

Randy Mazey and the WVU baseball team continue their seven-game road trip with a game Tuesday at Penn State. They will continue Big 12 play at Kansas starting March 25. West Virginia returns home for a two-game mid-week series against Canisius Tuesday March 29 and Wednesday March 30.

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