MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team used solid starting pitching, timely hitting and a rare triple play to sweep Bryant in a doubleheader on Tuesday afternoon and evening at Hawley Field.Game One – West Virginia 7, Bryant 6
In his first career start, redshirt freshman Marshall Thompson (1-0) pitched six innings of shutout baseball, allowing only one hit and striking out three. Freshman Ryan Tezak earned his first career save, forcing the final out on a ground out to first base.
“I was nervous, I’m not going to lie about that,” Thompson said.” Once I got the first few pitches out of the way, everything just seemed to calm down and went on from there.”
West Virginia was led by Grant Buckner who finished 4-for-5 with a home run, double, two runs scored and four RBIs. Brady Wilson went 3-for-5 with a run scored, while Colin Durborow went 2-for-3 with a double, run scored and an RBI.
The Mountaineers finished with seven runs on 13 hits, while Bryant scored six runs on seven hits. Neither team committed an error.
David O’Brien (0-1) took the loss in four innings pitched, giving up five runs and seven hits. Jamie Skagerlind led the Bulldogs offensively with a 2-for-4 performance, including a double and two runs scored.
West Virginia got off to a quick start holding a 3-0 lead after the first inning on Buckner’s three-run home run, his third of the season. Brady Wilson and Dan DiBartolomeo each hit singles before Buckner hit a mammoth shot to right center.
“Any time you can start a doubleheader with a home run in the first inning it sets the tone for the whole team,” Buckner said. “Hitting was contagious for us tonight and we were able to get two wins.”
After a leadoff double to left field to start off the bottom of the second from Colin Durborow, Wilson advanced him to third on a single and Durborow was ultimately knocked in by a sacrifice fly to center field from Justin McDavid.
The Mountaineers added to the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 6-0. Jeremy Gum led the inning off with a walk, followed by a Buckner single and a walk to T.J. Kuban to load the bases. Chris Rasky drew a walk to score Gum, followed by a sacrifice fly from Durborow to left to score Buckner.
Bryant was able to chip away at the lead, scoring two in the top of seventh on a two-run double to left field from Tim Norton scoring David Soltis and Jamie Skagerlind.
West Virginia scored their final run in the bottom of the eighth to take a 7-2 lead on a double down the left field line by Buckner to score McDavid who singled up the middle, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from DiBartolomeo and was balked to third.
It took four relief pitchers to close out the game as Bryant scored four runs on three hits and left three men on base in the top of the ninth with Tezak getting the final batter to ground out to first base.Game Two – West Virginia 6, Bryant 1
A rare triple play and an unbelievable effort from freshman pitcher Corey Walter proved to be too much for the Bulldogs, as WVU took the second game of the doubleheader, 6-1.
In his career debut, Walter (1-0) pitched eight innings, allowing four hits and only one run, while striking out three. Freshman Josh Harlow completed the victory with a ninth-inning appearance, striking out two.
“I found out in third inning of the first game that I was going to be pitching in the next game,” Walter said. “I just had to mentally prepare and get myself ready to pitch the next game. It was my first time out, but I just pictured it as another baseball game.”
Jonathan Cohen (1-1) took the loss for Bryant, only pitching two innings, allowing five hits and three runs with no strikeouts.
West Virginia once again scored in the first inning against Bryant, this time scoring two to take a 2-0 lead. Wilson and McDavid led off the inning with back-to-back singles, followed by a DiBartolomeo fielder’s choice that saw Wilson forced out at third base. Buckner followed with a fielder’s choice played to the pitcher, with the pitcher unable to make a play to load the bases. After an infield fly by Gum, freshman Ryan McBroom reached on a throwing error by the shortstop, scoring McDavid. DiBartolomeo then scored on a Matt Malloy single to shortstop before Durborow flied out to end the inning.
WVU added a run in the second to extend the lead to 3-0 on a single by DiBartolomeo down the left field line, driving in Mark Dvoroznak who led off the inning with a single to left field.
Bryant scored its lone run in the top of third after Jordan English walked to lead off the inning, advanced to third on a fielding error and then scored on a sacrifice fly from Kevin Brown.
A two-run double by McBroom brought the WVU lead to 5-1 in the bottom of the fifth, driving in DiBartolomeo and McDavid, who were both advanced to second and third, respectively, by a Buckner sacrifice bunt.
The triple play occurred in the top of the eighth after Brown, David Soltis and Jamie Skagerlind loaded the bases with no outs. Daniel St. George came up to bat and flied out to Justin McDavid who made a shoestring catch in right field. Brown, who was on third, tagged up to home, while Soltis stayed on second and Skagerlind tagged from first to second. Realizing that two men were going to the same base, McDavid threw the ball to DiBartolomeo who tagged out Skagerlind at second. DiBartolomeo then realized that Brown may have left third base prematurely and alertly threw the ball to third base, where Durborow touched third. The umpire ruled that Brown left early and was out, completing the triple play.
Dvoroznak then brought the lead to 6-1, the final score, in the bottom of the eight after he doubled down the left field line and was driven in by a McDavid single.
“We’ve been up and down all year and had some tough losses, but getting two wins going into a four-game weekend series is big for us,” Buckner said.
The Mountaineers will be back in action from March 11-13 with a four-game series against Rider at Hawley Field. Friday’s game will start at 3 p.m., while Saturday’s doubleheader and Sunday’s game will both start at 1 p.m.