MORGATOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team pounded out nine runs on ten hits in just five innings of work in a 9-0 victory over East Tennessee State on Friday night at Hawley Field.
Mountaineer starting pitcher Zac Cline pitched his nation’s best ninth complete game of the season in a shortened five-inning game. The junior hurler tossed 51 pitches to improve to 7-3 on the season. Cline surrendered just two hits for the third consecutive outing while striking out a pair of Buccaneers on the night.
The two teams played three and a half innings of scoreless baseball before the Mountaineers tagged ETSU starter Steven Calicutt for a seven-run fourth inning. Catcher Travis D’Amico lined a fastball to left centerfield for WVU’s fifth triple of the year, scoring two Mountaineers for an early 2-0 lead.
“I thought we only needed a run or two tonight with the way Zac was pitching,” says head coach Greg Van Zant. “We then went out and gathered a few base hits and came up with a big inning. Providing Zac with a lead puts us in a great position to win ballgames.”
Doug Nelms kept the pressure on with a double down the leftfield line. Senior Jake Serfass then singled through the right side scoring Nelms and advancing Kyle Matuszek to third after his bunt single. Next batter Grant Psomas took a first-pitch fastball for his team-leading eighth home run of the year to put the Mountaineers up 7-0.
West Virginia would tag on two more runs in the fifth with David Carpenter swinging for a leadoff double. Nelms then stepped to the plate and delivered a two-run bomb over the leftfield wall making it 9-0.
Then came the rain and a 49-minute delay. The game was called prior to the sixth inning due to thunderstorms.
Calicutt took the loss, falling to 5-7 on the season. The nation’s leading hitter Caleb Moore and Shane Byrne tallied the Bucs only two hits of the game.
West Virginia sent 11 men to the plate in the fourth inning. The seven-run fourth was the most productive Mountaineer offensive inning since scoring eight runs in the first inning at Villanova on April 17.
The two teams conclude the three-game series at Hawley Field on Saturday, May 15, at 1 p.m.