Thomas, Kansas too much for WVU in tourney

MORGANTOWN – In its first game of pool play against Kansas at the Phillips 66 Big 12 Baseball Championship, the West Virginia University baseball team was defeated, 7-2, on Thursday.

The Jayhawks were led by the efforts of pitcher Taylor Thomas, who tossed 7.1 innings and allowed two runs on four hits. Thomas’ start was highlighted by a stretch in which he retired 18 straight Mountaineers.

Michael Suiter and Tucker Tharp, who had two RBIs apiece, piloted Kansas’ offense.

The Jayhawks struck first in the contest, as it scored two runs in the opening frame against starter Dan Dierdorff, who tossed seven innings in the contest.

Justin Protacio led off the Jayhawks’ attack with a double that sailed over the head of WVU’s Jacob Rice. Following a successful sacrifice bunt attempt by Kevin Kuntz that ended with a failed attempt at getting Protacio out at third, Suiter drove home the first run of the game with a bunt that Dierdorff was unable to handle near the first base line. Dakota Smith drove in the second run with a single that skipped through the gap on the left side of the infield.

In the bottom of the second, the Mountaineers plated their first run of the contest, as a single by Alan Filauro scored Billy Fleming to make it 2-1. Fleming found his way aboard by working a walk against Taylor Thomas.

In the seventh inning, Kuntz was successful on a suicide squeeze, while Suiter drove home his second runner of the game with a single through the left side to extend the lead to 4-1.

The Jayhawks put two more runs on the board in the eighth inning, as Tharp knocked a double over the head of right fielder Brady Willson to drive home Ka’iana Eldrege and Conner McKay.

In the bottom half of the eighth, WVU threatened, as Bobby Boyd scored on single by Rice to cut the deficit to 6-2.

After a single by Ryan Tuntland loaded the bases, Ryan McBroom came to the plate representing the game-tying run.

However, McBroom lined out to second baseman Protacio, who then flipped the ball to the shortstop, Kuntz, for a double play to close out the inning.

Kansas plated its final run of the game in the ninth.

WVU takes on TCU at 5 p.m. today as Big 12 Pitcher of the Year Harrison Musgrave will be on the hill for the Mountaineers.