MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Sophomore right-hander Michael Grove
was excellent on the mound and the West Virginia University baseball team’s bats broke out in an 8-1 victory against Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon.
In front of 2,084 fans in the first game of a doubleheader at Monongalia County Ballpark, the Mountaineers (12-8) out-hit the Dolphins (11-14) 13-5 and all but one starter had at least one hit. WVU improved to 4-1 in its last five games and a perfect 2-0 at home.
Grove (2-1) was dominant in his first home start of the season and had his first quality start of the year. The Wheeling, West Virginia, native allowed one run on five hits in 7.2 innings. He struck out eight, his second-highest total this season, and did not walk a batter.
WVU scored two runs in the first and another in the second, and that was all the offense Grove needed.
Sophomore right fielder Darius Hill
was one of three Mountaineers with two hits, and he had a team-high three RBIs. Hill’s two-RBI double in the first inning scored the eventual game-winning run.
Senior first baseman Jackson Cramer
also had two hits, including a solo home run in the fifth inning, his second home run in as many days and his fourth of the year.
Freshman catcher Chase Illig
also homered and had two RBIs, his second home run of his career.
The Mountaineers got on the board with two runs in the first inning, thanks to Hill’s two-RBI double to the wall in left center with two outs. The extra-base hit scored junior left fielder Kyle Davis
and sophomore third baseman Cole Austin
In the second, Illig’s home run made it 3-0. His second home run of the season just sailed to the left of the right-field foul pole.
Grove struck out the side in the third for his second 1-2-3 inning of the game. Both teams stranded runners in the fourth before each scoring a run in the fifth.
Jacksonville’s lone run came on an RBI groundout with two outs, but the Mountaineers answered right back thanks to Cramer’s home run in the bottom of the fifth. The homer to right was Cramer’s fourth of the season and 22nd of his career.
After another 1-2-3 inning for Grove in the top of the sixth inning, a groundout in the bottom half scored another and gave the Mountaineers a 5-1 lead before a three-run seventh.
The seventh inning began with a hit-by-pitch and a single up the middle to put two runners on for Austin. Both runs scored when Austin reached on a fielding error, and Hill singled up the middle to plate Austin and make it 8-1.
Freshman right-handed reliever Alek Manoah
pitched a perfect ninth inning to close out the 8-1 win and secure a series win for the Mountaineers.
The series against Jacksonville concludes with the second game of today’s doubleheader.
On Tuesday, the Backyard Brawl resumes with the 193rd edition of the rivalry against Pitt on Tuesday, March 28 at 6 p.m. ET, in Pittsburgh. WVU has won its last four road games in the series and owns a 104-88 all-time record against the Panthers.
WVU improved to 12-8 on the season, 2-0 at home and 4-1 in its last four games … Today’s attendance of 2,084 is the 13th-best all-time for a WVU home game … Starter Michael Grove
improved to 2-1 on the season, allowing a run on five hits in 7.2 innings … Grove struck out eight, his second-highest total of the season, and had no walks … Jackson Cramer
hit his second home run in as many days and his fourth of the year and 22nd of his career … Chase Illig
hit his second career home run … Eight of the nine WVU starters had at least one hit.
Season tickets, single game 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