CLEARWATER, Fla. – Top pitching performances by Marshall Thompson and Austin Pressly, as well as a first inning home run by Matt Frazer paced the WVU baseball team to a 4-1 victory on Saturday evening over Penn State at Bright House Field.
“It was a huge win for us because Penn State has a great ball club,” coach Greg Van Zant says. “The last game Marshall Thompson pitched was out here at Bright House on the same mound and he struggled. He came out here and pitched a heckuva game.”
Frazer opened the scoring with a home run to drive in John Polonius and put WVU ahead 2-0. Frazer hit a 410-foot line drive over the center field wall and into the batter’s eye after a first-pitch fastball. Polonius previously reached base by drawing a walk.
“Matt was the difference in the game with that two-run jack to center field. He crushed that ball,” Van Zant says. “He got every bit of it and it ricocheted out of their off a really good pitcher.”
Thompson had an impressive outing to earn his first win of the season, allowing just one run on six hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked one in the start. Pressly came on in relief, allowed just one hit in the final three innings to earn the save.
“I was able to spot all of my pitches for the most part,” Thompson says. “My breaking ball and changeup kept them off-balance and it set up my fastball to make them swing through it.”
Six Mountaineers recorded a hit in the victory with Brady Wilson and L.K. Thompson each driving in one run.
Wilson drove in Chris Rasky in the fourth inning with a bases loaded infield single to put the Mountaineers up 3-1.
Thompson drove in the final WVU run of the evening in the top of the eighth with a single through the right side to drive in Antone from second. The hit was the first of Thompson’s career.
The Penn State pitching staff threw relatively well with three pitchers striking out 15 WVU batters. John Walter made the start for the Nittany Lions and was relieved after just four innings of work. The right-hander allowed three runs on three hits with seven strikeouts and five walks. Tim Dunn followed Walter with 3.2 innings pitched, allowing two hits and one run. Neal Herring pitched 1.1 innings and gave up one hit.
Offensively, Penn State was led by a 3-for-4 performance from Jordan Steranka.
Penn State scored its lone run in the third inning after a double from Luis Montesinos drove in Zach Ell.
WVU travels back to St. Petersburg, Fla., tomorrow for a doubleheader at the Walter Fuller Complex. The Mountaineers take on Iowa at 9 a.m., followed by a game against Michigan to close the tournament.