MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – A first pitch walk-off home run in the 10th inning by sophomore left fielder Matt Frazer led West Virginia to a 6-5 win over Villanova on Saturday afternoon at Hawley Field. The win in front of a season-high 615 fans gave the Mountaineers a victory in the season series.
“I was just trying to put a good swing on it,” Frazer says. “I wasn’t thinking about trying to end the game, obviously it’s in your mind, but I just wanted to get a pitch to hit. I knew it was going out as soon as I hit it.”
Sophomore reliever Josh Harlow had been the star of the game up until Frazer’s home run, as Harlow held Villanova scoreless and hitless in four innings pitched. While earning the win, Harlow struck out three and did not allow a walk.
“Josh Harlow came in, no walks, and made two nice plays,” coach Greg Van Zant says. “We worked on pitcher’s fielding practice this week because we knew they were going to come in and bunt on us. He made big pitches and that’s what we need out of our bullpen.”
The win improves WVU’s record to 14-19 (3-6 BIG EAST) after scoring six runs on nine hits with one error. Villanova (17-16, 3-6) scored five runs on just four hits with no errors.
“Our guys were really resilient to clear their heads on a short night and get back in here and start over,” Van Zant says. “That say’s a lot about the character of our team.”
The Mountaineers opened the offense with two runs in the first inning after back-to-back two-out RBI singles by freshman designated hitter Pen Nakazato and junior right fielder Chris Rasky.
An error by Boyd that the Wildcats scored two runs on in the fifth inning gave Villanova a 4-2 lead. Previously in the inning Kevin Wager hit a two-run single to tie the game at 2-2.
WVU then chipped away at the Villanova lead and scored one in both the fifth and sixth innings, tying the game at 4-4. Junior second baseman Brady Wilson scored in the fifth on an RBI ground out by sophomore first baseman Ryan McBroom, and junior catcher Alan Filauro doubled to left center field to score junior third baseman Nate Antone in the sixth inning.
After Villanova scored a run in the top of the seventh to go up 5-4, WVU countered to once again tie the game. Freshman center fielder Bobby Boyd started the bottom half by getting hit by pitch. Boyd was then sacrificed to second by McBroom, and had a heads up steal of third base. Frazer executed a successful sacrifice fly to center field, easily scoring Boyd from third base.
Frazer and Wilson each recorded two hits for WVU, with Frazer driving in two and Wilson scoring two.
WVU sophomore starter Marshall Thompson earned the no-decision in six innings. Thompson allowed five runs on four hits with three strikeouts and five walks.
Villanova used a total of five pitchers, with Julian Diaz taking the loss in two innings of work. Diaz allowed one run on two hits, while starter Pat Young lasted six innings in the no-decision.
WVU will head to Maryland for a midweek non-conference game on Wednesday at Shipley Field in College Park, Md. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.