CONWAY, S.C. – The West Virginia University baseball team’s bats broke out for 22 runs on 29 hits in a 22-9 victory at No. 18 Coastal Carolina on Saturday afternoon.
The Mountaineers (3-2) hit six home runs, scored at least one run in all but two innings and batted around two times while playing a defending NCAA champion for the first time in program history. The 22 runs are WVU’s most since it scored 23 at Duquesne on April 21, 2010. The 29 hits is three shy of tying the school record of 32, set in 2009, and West Virginia’s six home runs is one shy of the program record, set in 1997.
“We’ve been waiting for this offense to break out, and we did it in grand fashion today,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “Everyone in the lineup swung the bat really well, and they all did it at the same time, which we’re very capable of doing. But, that’s not going to happen every day. You usually count on two, three or four guys to do it, but it seemed like we were all doing it at the same time today.”
Additionally, WVU’s 56 at-bats is a new school record.
Senior first baseman Jackson Cramer
led the offensive charge with a career-best five hits, four extra-base hits and three doubles, all one shy of tying the school record. He added a career-high six RBIs and hit one home run. Cramer was 5-7, and his fifth-inning double drove in the eventual game-winning run.
“Five hits and six RBIs, Jackson is in the middle of the lineup to drive runs in, and the guys ahead of him are in the lineup to get on base,” Mazey added. “Everybody did what they were supposed to do today. That’s good for Jackson, he’ll put his toes in the box tomorrow feeling really comfortable.”
Every Mountaineer starter had at least two hits, while seven had at least three. All but one starter drove in at least one run and four had multiple RBIs.
Sophomore right fielder Darius Hill
had a career-high four hits, a career-high-tying four RBI and scored four runs while hitting his fourth career home run. Hill has recorded at least one hit in all five of WVU’s games to open the season, while Saturday was his third multi-hit, multi-RBI contest of the year.
Sophomore third baseman Cole Austin
had two hits, including his fifth career home run, three RBI and three runs scored with three walks, while sophomore designated hitter Marques Inman
had a career-high-tying three hits and two RBI and hit his second career homer. Sophomore catcher Ivan Gonzalez
also hit his first career home run and had two hits.
West Virginia’s 22 runs and 29 hits are the most the Chanticleers (3-4) have given up in a single game in program history, while WVU’s six home runs is tied for the most allowed in CCU history.
On the mound for the Mountaineers, freshman right-handed reliever Isaiah Kearns
pitched 2.0 innings and earned the win. He entered in the fourth inning and allowed three runs on four hits with three strikeouts. The bullpen held Coastal scoreless in the final two innings, with senior Jackson Sigman
pitching 1.1 innings and allowing just one hit, while freshman Riley Troutt
made his first career appearance with 0.2 innings pitched to finish the game.
The Mountaineers wasted no time getting on the board, with a pair of runs in the first inning. Hill’s home run, which scored junior left fielder Kyle Davis
, bounced off the top of the wall and over the right-center field fence to give West Virginia a 2-0 lead.
Sophomore right-handed starter Michael Grove
followed with a 1-2-3 bottom half of the first inning, with two strikeouts. He followed that with a scoreless second, allowing just one walk.
West Virginia added to its lead with a run in the top of the third. Cramer led off the inning with a double and scored on a fielder’s choice and an error. The unearned run gave WVU a 3-0 lead, but the Chanticleers quickly answered in the bottom of the inning with four runs.
Grove walked the first two batters, and with one out, back-to-back singles tied the game at 3-3. Coastal took a 4-3 lead on a two-out single through the right side.
West Virginia wasted no time answering though, with a six-run top of the fourth. Three straight singles, including two infield hits, loaded the bases for Hill. The sophomore singled to score one, and Cramer followed with a two-RBI double down the right-field line. That gave the Mountaineers a 6-4 lead, but they were not done. Austin followed with his first home run of the season, driving in three runs. All six runs came before the first out was recorded, and WVU sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning.
Kearns came in to pitch the fourth. He allowed a leadoff home run, but limited the damage to one run, and WVU took a 9-5 lead into the fifth.
The Mountaineers’ bats remained hot, with three runs in the top of the fifth. The runs came on three hits with one error, highlighted by Cramer’s RBI double to center and sophomore designated hitter Marques Inman
’s RBI single.
After Coastal responded again with two runs in the bottom of the fifth, sophomore shortstop Jimmy Galusky
homered to left-center in the top of the sixth to give the Mountaineers a 13-7 lead. It was Galusky’s first home run of the season and second of his career.
Junior righty Shane Ennis
came in and pitched a scoreless bottom of the sixth, just the fourth scoreless half inning all game and the first since the second inning.
In the seventh, freshman second baseman TJ Lake
hit a sky-high pop-up with two outs that dropped in shallow left field for a double, scoring Austin, who walked to lead off the frame. A leadoff home run in the bottom of the seventh and a sacrifice fly in the eighth made it a 14-9 game.
West Virginia blew it wide open in the ninth, with eight runs on seven hits. The Mountaineers batted around for the second time in the contest. The inning began with back-to-back home runs by Inman and Gonzalez. It followed with an RBI single by Davis, an unearned run and a Hill RBI single. The scoring was capped by a three-run home run by Cramer.
Troutt came in with one out in the bottom of the ninth and got the final two outs to secure WVU’s third consecutive victory.
The Caravelle Resort Tournament continues for the Mountaineers against Ball State on Sunday at 11 a.m., in Myrtle Beach. The weekend concludes with the finale at No. 18 Coastal Carolina on Monday at noon.
Live stats will be available for each of the final two games, while Ball State and Coastal Carolina will have an online audio broadcast. Links to live stats and audio are available on the baseball schedule page on WVUsports.com
. Additional behind-the-scenes updates and notes from Myrtle Beach can be found on social media by following and connecting with the team at @WVUBaseball on Twitter
West Virginia has won three in a row and improved to 3-2 on the season … No. 18 Coastal Carolina was WVU’s first ranked opponent of the season and the first time in program history the Mountaineers faced a defending national champion … West Virginia scored 22 runs, the most since scoring 23 against Duquesne in 2010 ... WVU's 29 hits is three shy of the school record of 32, set in 2009 ... West Virginia's six home runs is one shy of the school record of seven, set in 1997 ... WVU's 56 at-bats is a school record ... Jackson Cramer
had a career-best five hits, four extra-base hits and three doubles, all one shy of tying the school record ... Cramer added a career-high six RBIs ... Darius Hill
hit his first home run of the season and fourth of his career in the first inning … Hill has at least one hit in each of WVU’s first five games in 2017 and has at least two hits and two RBIs in three of those games ... Isaiah Kearns
earned his first career win ... WVU closes the weekend against Ball State on Sunday before facing Coastal Carolina again on Monday.
Season tickets, flex plan tickets and mini packs for the 2017 WVU baseball season are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-WVU GAME, going to WVUGAME.com
or visiting the Mountaineer Ticket Office in the WVU Coliseum. The 2017 schedule is available on WVUsports.com