MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – The West Virginia University baseball used season-highs in runs and hits to defeat New Mexico State 10-4 on Sunday afternoon at the Metrodome in the final game of the Dairy Queen Classic.
After scoring one run in the first four innings, the Mountaineer bats came alive and scored nine runs in the next four innings to complete the win.
WVU (5-4) finished the game with 10 runs on 14 hits and no errors. New Mexico State scored four runs on 10 hits and committed two errors.
“With this many new hitters in the lineup, whether they’re from junior college or high school, it’s going to take a lot of patience with them,” coach Greg Van Zant says. “They’re good hitters and have good ability, they’re just inexperienced.”
John Polonius led WVU at the plate going 3-for-4 with three runs and two RBIs. Brady Wilson, Bobby Boyd, Ryan McBroom and Billy Fleming all had two hits. Boyd, Matt Frazer and Chris Rasky each scored two runs with Fleming and L.K. Thompson each driving in two.
WVU had a three-run two-out rally in the fifth inning to tie the score at 4-4. Boyd continued his superb weekend at the plate with a leadoff single and after two outs, Polonius walked, while Rasky was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Fleming came to the plate and hit a single to the shortstop that scored Boyd, while Thompson smacked a two-run single to the right field gap that scored Polonius and Rasky.
The Mountaineers immediately took advantage of new Aggie reliever Adam Mott in the sixth inning, scoring three runs in the first four plate appearances to take a 7-4 lead. Boyd started the hitting with a single to right and then raced around the bases on a double by Frazer to the center field wall. McBroom and Polonius followed with back-to-back singles with McBroom driving in Frazer and Polonius scoring McBroom. WVU added one to make it 8-4 as Max Nogay drew a bases loaded walk to end the scoring.
A single to right field by Fleming scoring Polonius highlighted a two-run eighth inning for the Mountaineers, who extended their lead to 10-4.
For the second-straight game, a WVU starting pitcher got into some early trouble as eight batters had plate appearances for New Mexico State in the first inning. Fortunately the Aggies only had two runs cross the plate.
After the Aggies scored one in the second inning, WVU got on the board to bring the score to 3-1 on a Polonius single up the middle scoring Frazer.
Zach Voight tacked on a run to make it 4-1 in favor of New Mexico State in the fourth inning on a deep home run to left field.
Left-hander Eric Hinkle’s afternoon was complete after 4.1 innings pitched in which he allowed four runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and four walks. Hinkle earned the no-decision, while Gabe Brown got his first career win with an outstanding pitching performance.
Brown finished his outing with 3.2 innings pitched, allowing just three hits and striking out three. Brown left two runners on base for Ryan Tezak, who came in and retired the next three batters.
New Mexico State starter Timothy Torsney pitched five innings and allowing three earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and three walks. Mott, Mack and Neptune all pitched in relief.
The WVU hitting attack chased away the Aggie relievers as New Mexico State was forced to use five with only two lasting more than an inning. The group combined for four innings and allowed six runs on seven hits, walking three.
Voight went 3-for-5 at the plate for New Mexico State with a home run, two runs and two RBIs. Parker Hipp also had three hits in the losing effort.
WVU opens up the home season with a doubleheader against Niagara on Tuesday, March 6 at Hawley Field. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. with live stats via MSNsportsNET.com.