Native Texans propel Mountaineers to series win at TCU

FORT WORTH, Texas – Reed Chumley returned to the Lone Star State and spoiled TCU’s Senior Day on Saturday afternoon at Lupton Stadium.

Chumley, WVU’s third baseman, blasted a three-run home run in the top of the eighth inning that provided just enough insurance for the Mountaineers (33-17, 19-11 Big 12) to score a 6-5 victory over the host Horned Frogs (31-19, 14-16).

It was the 15th home run of the season for Chumley, a transfer from Houston Christian who also played high school and junior college baseball in Texas.

Chumley went 2-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored. He knocked in the first run of the game on an RBI double in the first inning, followed by another RBI double from junior first baseman Grant Hussey.

“My family and neighbors showed up, and for them to watch me play was very special for me,” said Chumley, one of two Texans on the Mountaineer roster.

The other Texan, graduate student relief pitcher Hambleton Oliver — a Baylor transfer from Corpus Christi — got the Mountaineers out of an eighth-inning, bases-loaded jam, allowing just one run.

The Mountaineers withstood a furious Horned Frogs rally in the bottom of the ninth inning. TCU had loaded the bases on three previous occasions, but they trailed 6-2 entering the ninth.

Junior pinch hitter Payton Tolle hit a sacrifice fly RBI, followed by junior designated hitter Logan Maxwell’s two-RBI double. Redshirt sophomore outfielder Jack Arthur had a deep single that scored senior outfielder Luke Boyers. Graduate student pinch runner Peyton Chatagnier, whom Chumley competed against in high school, hesitated before heading home from third base. He ultimately made the attempt but was called out at the plate. The attempt withstood a lengthy replay review by the umpires.

With a 6-5 lead and two outs, WVU sophomore reliever Luke Lyman, a transfer from Morehead State, struck out junior infielder Brody Green to end the game. Lyman, the last of six WVU relievers on Saturday, earned his first save of the season.

“It’s amazing that comebacks like that happen here more than they happen anywhere,” said WVU head baseball coach Randy Mazey, who was a TCU assistant coach from 2006-2012.

West Virginia’s Benjamin Lumsden (37) hits a double against TCU on Saturday. (Michael Sudhalter/For The Dominion Post)

WVU’s victory ensured that the fourth-seeded Mountaineers will open the double-elimination Big 12 Conference Tournament against ninth-seeded TCU at 1:30 p.m. at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

“That’s never easy to keep beating a team,” Mazey said. “The team that won the series doesn’t have an advantage, because (the other team) will be playing like their (NCAA tournament hopes) are at stake. But everyone’s (hopes) are at stake next week.” 

If WVU wins on Tuesday, they’ll face top-seeded Oklahoma at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday. If they lose to TCU, they’ll meet the loser of the Kansas-Kansas State game at 10 a.m. Wednesday in an elimination game.

Instead of playing in sweltering heat, the teams will play in the comfort of 72 degrees at the Texas Rangers’ home stadium.

The Mountaineers are 0-4 in the Big 12 Tournament since it moved to Arlington two years ago.

Tuesday will be the first conference tournament meeting between the teams since 2018 in Oklahoma City. WVU is 1-4 against the Horned Frogs in Big 12 Tournament games.

The Mountaineers won their second consecutive series in Fort Worth and have taken seven of the last nine from the defending Big 12 Tournament Champions.

WVU took a 2-1 lead into the eighth inning, despite just two hits, the doubles from Chumley and Hussey. They won the game, despite being outhit, 10-4.

They went to work in the eighth, with sophomore outfielder Ben Lumsden hitting a leadoff double, and sophomore outfielder Sam White hitting a sacrifice fly RBI, before Chumley’s home run, which increased the single-season school record of home runs in a season to 86.

WVU junior southpaw Tyler Switalski (4-2), a transfer from Gardner Webb, allowed four hits and struck out two in five shutout innings to earn the victory.

BY MICHAEL SUDHALTER/For The Dominion Post