West Virginia's first-ever appearance in the Big 12 baseball championships got off to a rocky start Thursday. The third-seeded Mountaineers fell behind in the top of the first and never recovered, losing 7-2 to the sixthseeded Kansas Jayhawks at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City.
The loss puts WVU at 0-1 in Pool 2 play. The Mountaineers will face seventhseeded TCU today at 5 p.m. and second-seeded Oklahoma State on Saturday at the same time.
The best record from WVU's four-team pool, which includes all of the aforementioned teams, will advance to Sunday's championship against the Pool 1 winner.
Oklahoma defeated Baylor 2-0 and top-seeded Kansas State edged Texas Tech 4-3 in Thursday's early Pool 1 action.
West Virginia (31-26) fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first. The score was tied at 0-0 for the first two batters of the game, but then Kansas led for the duration of the game.
Dan Dierdorff gave up four runs (three earned) in seven innings for the Mountaineers, who swept the Jayhawks in a three-game series in Beckley last month.
WVU mustered only four hits off Kansas starting pitcher Thomas Taylor, who lasted 7 1/3 innings and gave up two runs and struck out four.
Left fielder Jacob Rice had the only multi-hit game for WVU. He also drove in a run. Kansas had four players with two hits: Justin Protacio, Kevin Kuntz, Michael Suiter and Tucker Tharp. Suiter and Tharp each added two RBI.
Harrison Musgrave, who earlier this week was named the Big 12's Pitcher of the Year, is expected to start today for West Virginia. Musgrave finished the regular season 8-1 with a 2.14 earned run average. He was a perfect 5-0 in Big 12 play.
Musgrave pitched a complete- game shutout against TCU on May 11. He struck out 14 batters and allowed three hits in that performance.