Baseball: Six-Run Ninth Downs Mountaineers
By Tim Goodenow for MSNsportsNET.com
West Virginia’s two-run fourth inning tied the game at five until Savannah State took a 6-5 lead on a sacrifice fly from designated hitter Gerald Smith in the top of the sixth inning.
The Tigers (14-8) put the game out of reach with a six-run ninth inning off WVU reliever Todd Dunham. Centerfielder Brandon Pope hit a bases clearing triple to right center scoring three to make it 10-5. Savannah State plated two more for a seven-run cushion and finished the inning with six runs on four hits with one Mountaineer error.
Tiger right-hander Jeremiah Fielder earned his third win of the season going seven innings allowing five runs on 12 hits.
Pope led the game off with a home run to right field off West Virginia starter Travis McGrath. The Tigers then posted four runs in the top of the second inning to take a 5-0 lead.
West Virginia (11-18) stormed back into the game with three runs in the bottom of the second inning. With one out, second baseman Tyler Kuhn and shortstop Doug Nelms hit back-to-back singles to put runners on first and second. Catcher David Carpenter crushed a ball over the left field wall for his second home run of the season and narrow the deficit to 5-3.
The Mountaineers evened the game at five a piece with a two-run fourth inning. Nelms collected his second of three hits on the day with a double to left centerfield. Carpenter followed with a single to put runners on the corner with one out. A hustling Carpenter stole second forcing a play at the plate as Nelms collided with Sumpter to score. Carpenter crossed the plate on a Tiger error with Justin Jenkins at-bat to knot the score at 5-5.
WVU registered 12 hits on the night but could only manage five runs. Leading the offense for West Virginia was Nelms who went 3-for-4 while extending his hitting streak to seven games.
Carpenter and Chad McKown each tallied two hits in the loss.
Freshman Kenny Durst fell to 0-2 on the season going 5 2/3 innings allowing five runs (three earned) on six hits with four strikeouts.
Tonight’s contest marked the longest game of the season going three hours and 22 minutes.
The Mountaineers look to rebound against the Tigers with a single game tomorrow afternoon at Hawley Field. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m.