MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The WVU baseball team used a four-run eighth inning to come from behind and beat Manhattan 7-6 on Saturday evening at Hawley Field. The win gave the Mountaineers a sweep of Saturday’s doubleheader and a win of the four-game series after winning the first three games.
The win brings WVU’s record back to .500, as the team is now 10-10. Manhattan dropped to 1-14 with the loss.
Trailing 6-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth, the Mountaineers loaded the bases with no outs. Chris Rasky was hit by a pitch to drive in Ryan McBroom for the first run of the inning, bringing the score to 6-4. In the next at bat, Nate Antone singled down the right field line and advanced the runners one base with John Polonius scoring to bring the Jasper lead to just one run.
“Our hitters had good at bats,” coach Greg Van Zant says. “They didn’t throw in the towel and they went into the inning to get at bats. Manhattan made a mistake that opened the door for us and fortunately we were able to take advantage.”
The inning then took an interesting turn as Max Nogay hit into a 5-2-3 double play before a walk to Brady Wilson put WVU runners on first and second. Bobby Boyd came to the plate and hit what looked to be a routine ground out to second base, but Chris Kalousdian of Manhattan made an errant throw to first base that scored Rasky to tie the game and Antone for the go ahead lead. Manhattan then appeared to commit a balk as Boyd went to steal second, but the umpire that called it was overruled by his counterparts. Boyd was run down by the Jaspers before Wilson could cross home plate from third base, ending the inning at 7-6 in favor of WVU.
Ryan Tezak continued his dominance in relief with his fourth-straight save, pitching one inning, allowing one hit and striking out one. Austin Pressly earned the win, pitching a perfect eighth inning with one strikeout.
“We’ve been fighting to get back to .500 after going to Oregon where we saw some good teams and played good baseball,” Tezak says. “Unfortunately we didn’t get any wins out there, but we wanted to come back and get to .500 as soon as possible and we’ll keep climbing.”
The Jasper bats chased WVU starter Caleb Ross quickly as Ross allowed three runs on five hits in just 1.2 innings pitched. Gabe Brown came on in relief and provided 5.1 innings of work, allowing three runs on eight hits for the no-decision.
Polonius continued to swing the bat well with three hits, including a double and one run. Boyd added two runs for WVU, while McBroom drove in two runs and scored one.
WVU took an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a wild pitch, scoring Wilson, and a ground out RBI by McBroom scoring Boyd.
Manhattan took the 3-2 lead in the second inning as Kalousdian hit a one-out double to right center field that scored Joe McClennan. The next at bat, Nick Camastro singled to left field, scoring Kalousdian and Yoandry Galan.
Each team added a run in the third inning to bring the score to 4-3 and Manhattan added what they thought were insurance runs in the sixth- and eighth-innings to take a 7-3 lead.
The loss went to Michael Scarinci, who allowed one unearned on one hit in one inning pitched. Manhattan reliever Kevin Bonanni pitched effectively up until the eighth inning, pitching four innings of two-hit baseball and striking out three. Starter Nick Girardi lasted three innings, allowing three runs on three hits.
Anthony Vega smacked three hits for the Jaspers, with Camastro, McClennan and Kalousdian all recording two.
WVU and Manhattan will be back in action for the series finale tomorrow at noon. Live stats will be available via MSNsportsNET.com and a live radio stream will be on U92.wvu.edu.