Baseball: WVU Loses Tight Battle

  • By Grant Dovey
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  • February 24, 2012 03:48 PM
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – The WVU baseball team fell 7-4 to Virginia Tech on Friday afternoon at BB&T Coastal Field in Myrtle Beach, S.C. The game is part of the Baseball at the Beach Tournament hosted by Coastal Carolina.

The Mountaineers finished with four runs on seven hits with two errors, while Virginia Tech scored seven with nine hits and five errors.

Right-hander Corey Walter took the loss for WVU, allowing five runs on six hits in 4.2 innings. Lefty Caleb Ross came on in relief and pitched 3.1 effective innings, allowing just one earned run on three hits and striking out four.

Third baseman Nate Antone led the team at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance, while also walking and scoring a run. Center fielder Brady Wilson and left fielder Matt Frazer each knocked in runs for the Mountaineers.

The game began with a pitcher’s duel as the both teams combined for one hit until the bottom of the fourth when Virginia Tech’s Tyler Horan hit a two-out solo home run to left to open the scoring at 1-0.

The West Virginia bats began to come alive in the fifth inning with Virginia Tech bringing in reliever Colin O’Keefe. Antone opened up the inning with a full-count single up the middle for the first Mountaineer hit of the afternoon.

Second baseman Stuart Jeck came to the plate with the intent to sacrifice Antone to second and was called safe after O’Keefe threw the ball over the first baseman’s head. Antone moved up to third, while Jeck advanced to second on the error.

Antone then scored to even the score at 1-1 after catcher Max Nogay struck out swinging, but reached first safely on a wild pitch. Jeck moved up to third on the play.

A single to right field by Wilson increased the lead to 2-1, scoring Jeck from third base. Right fielder Bobby Boyd followed with an attempt to sacrifice and was able to beat the throw for a bunt single and to load the bases.

Nogay then scored on a double play ground out to shortstop by Frazer to bring the WVU lead to 3-1.

The Hokies regained the lead in the bottom half of the fifth that was highlighted by a two-run triple to right field by Ronnie Shaban to bring the score to 4-3. Shaban drove in Jake Atwell and Chad Pinder, who hit a double to left center and single to right field, respectively.

Johnny Morales brought the score to 5-3 with a sacrifice fly to left field that scored Shaban from third. Ross then entered the game in relief of Walter and struck out Horan on three pitches to end the inning.

WVU closed the Virginia Tech lead to 5-4 in the seventh inning with a two-out single from Frazer to score Boyd from second base. Boyd had reached on a fielder’s choice and then advanced to second by way of a stolen base.

Pinder was able to score on a throwing error by Frazer in left field followed a Shaban single to extend the Hokie lead to 6-4 in the eighth inning. Virginia Tech added another in the inning to reach the final score.

Manny Martir earned a no-decision for the Hokies after throwing a no-hitter in four innings of work. Martir struck out five, while walking three. O’Keefe just pitched 0.2 innings of relief of Martir and allowed three runs on three hits. Andrew Aizenstadt and Clark Labitan pitched a combined 3.1 innings of relief, allowing just one run on four hits and striking out six. The save went to Shaban, who pitched one inning and struck out two.

The Mountaineers return to action tomorrow in Conway, S.C., on the campus of Coastal Carolina for a game against NC State at 3 p.m.

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