Mountaineers split with TCU
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It has been no secret that one of the keys to West Virginia's surprisingly successfully baseball season has been the performance of starting pitcher Harrison Musgrave.
That was on display again Saturday as Musgrave, a former star at Bridgeport High, hurled a complete game and struck out 14 as the Mountaineers beat Texas Christian 2-0 in the first game of a doubleheader at Appalachian Power Park.
For Musgrave (8-1), it was his third complete game of the season. In addition to the 14 strikeouts (a career high) he allowed just three hits with one walk as he outdueled TCU starter Preston Morrison.
"Without Harrison Musgrave, you guys [the media] are probably not talking to me right now, you're probably at a junior high soccer game somewhere because that would be way bigger news than the Mountaineers," WVU coach Randy Mazey said. "He didn't tire at all, which is one of the things you look for when the pitch count starts getting up. He stayed sharp throughout, so it was his game to win."
West Virginia scored both of its runs in the seventh inning thanks to a Horned Frogs error at first base. Morrison allowed five hits and had seven strikeouts in seven innings of work.
"That's what he does and that's why he is what he is," Mazey said. "He can really sink his fastball and change speeds on his breaking ball. He's really hard to hit."
Musgrave did not have his fastball working to his liking, but his changeup and breaking pitches gave the TCU batters fits.
"It really helped keep them off balance," he said. "It was the first time in a long time all three pitches worked. With three pitches it's a lot better and easier to pitch. It made my fastball look a lot better than it was today and made my off-speed also better."
Musgrave said his fastball has topped out at around 94 miles per hour in the past, but on Saturday it was registering in the high-80s and low-90s on the Appalachian Power Park radar gun. With both pitchers locked in, it appeared as if whoever blinked first would lose. And TCU blinked.
"My velocity is going to be what it is," Musgrave said. "It's not going to jump up magically to some ridiculous number. I'm going to stick with the velocity, but the changeup can always be better and my breaking ball that I've had only twice this year, basically, can always be improved on. That's really the key for me."
Ryan McBroom and former Nitro High star Matt Frazer were the only Mountaineers with multiple hits against TCU (both had two singles), while on the Horned Frogs side Cody Jones (two singles) and Kyle Bacak (one single) were the only batters to get hits off Musgrave.
"If I can strike people out and help our defense, give them a little break between batters, then that's good," Musgrave said. "Strikeouts come with it. I'm not really a strikeout guy. I've had a few games like this, but I just try to pitch to contact and if they swing and miss and get out, then that makes it good. If I can throw three pitches for strikes it can help a lot."
The second game of the doubleheader did not go as well for West Virginia.
TCU scored six runs in the top of the first inning as WVU starting pitcher Dan Dierdorff didn't make it out of the inning. The Horned Frogs would add a run in the third and cruise to a 7-4 win.
West Virginia plated two runs of its own in the bottom of the first when Taylor Munden and Brady Wilson scored and got two more on one swing in the Ryan McBroom hit a home run with Jacob Rice on base.
The loss dropped WVU to 30-21 (12-8 Big 12). TCU improved to 24-25 (9-11) after splitting Saturday's games with the Mountaineers.
Reach Tom Bragg at firstname.lastname@example.org.