MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – After winning the series with an 8-1 victory in the opening game of a doubleheader, the West Virginia University baseball team lost the second game of the day, 8-2, on Saturday night at Monongalia County Ballpark.
The Mountaineers (12-9) were held to two runs on six hits, while the Dolphins (12-14) scored eight runs on 13 hits. WVU trailed 7-0 after two innings before responding with runs in the third and fourth innings, but could not get any closer. The West Virginia bullpen, consisting of six relievers, held JU to one run on six hits in the final seven innings.
“Doubleheaders are such a beating,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “At 5:30 this afternoon we were up 8-1 and as soon as that game ended they made up a seven run deficit. “The score goes to 0-0, they catch life and come out swinging the bats, and that’s why every coach in the world tries to avoid doubleheaders at all cost because the team that loses the first game has the momentum going into the second game just cause they tied it up. They came out swinging, you have to give them credit. They hit one of our best pitchers and they earned that one. We struck out 13 times in that second game, so hats off to them, they earned that one.”
Playing at home for the first time this season, West Virginia won its second consecutive weekend series thanks to a strong start on the mound by sophomore right-hander Michael Grove
. A complete recap and highlights from the 8-1 win in the opening game of Saturday’s doubleheader can be found at WVUsports.com
“It really helps, because I think we had lost a couple of series in a row coming into this,” Mazey said of getting the series win today. “College baseball is so tough to beat somebody three times, so winning series is what gets you into the postseason. That was a long day and our guys grinded it out as hard as they could.”
In Saturday’s second game, Jacksonville starter Casey Kulina struck out 11 batters in 6.0 innings. He allowed two runs, one earned, on five hits.
The Dolphins scored one run on an RBI double in the first inning, and added to their lead with six runs in the second. With one out in the second, three consecutive batters reached base before Nathan Koslowski hit a grand slam to put JU ahead, 5-0.
After freshman righty Isaiah Kearns
relieved junior starter Conner Dotson
, back-to-back hits scored the inning’s final run. Two of the six runs in the second inning were unearned.
The Mountaineer bullpen then proceeded to shut Jacksonville down. Three freshmen right-handers, Ryan McDonald
, Riley Troutt
and Frank Vesuvio
, threw shutout innings. Troutt pitched a 1-2-3 fourth inning and Vesuvio followed with a perfect fifth.
As the bullpen was retiring Jacksonville, the offense scored a run in the third. The scoring began with one out and back-to-back singles. Sophomore shortstop Jimmy Galusky
scored on a double steal with the help of two throwing errors.
WVU added a run in the fourth to make it 7-2. Senior first baseman Jackson Cramer
led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a balk. Sophomore third baseman Darius Hill
drove in Cramer with a single to left field.
West Virginia stranded two baserunners in the fifth inning before sophomore righty Jacob Potock
pitched a perfect sixth inning. The Mountaineers then stranded another two runners in the sixth inning.
Jacksonville then added a run in the seventh inning on a solo home run by Sam Armstrong.
The Mountaineers were retired in order in the eighth and had one hit in the ninth, but couldn’t put together a late rally.
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 falls to 12-9 on the season, 2-1 at home and 4-2 in its last six games … Today’s attendance of 2,084 is the 13th-best all-time for a WVU home game … Starter Conner Dotson
suffered his third loss of the year, allowing four earned runs on four hits in 1.1 innings … five relievers all pitched 1.0 scoreless innings for WVU, and the final six Mountaineer relief pitchers allowed one earned run or less in at least 1.0 innings pitched … Ivan Gonzalez
led WVU with two hits.
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