MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Junior right-handed starter BJ Myers pitched his first career complete game to lead the West Virginia University baseball team to its fifth consecutive win on Friday night, 10-1 against Kansas.
Playing their first home Big 12 Conference game of the season, the Mountaineers (18-10, 5-2 Big 12) improved to 9-3 in their last 12 games and 5-1 at home.
Myers pitched WVU’s first complete game of the season, allowing one run on five hits with a career-high-tying 10 strikeouts in 9.0 innings. He was backed up by an offense that scored 10 runs on eight hits, taking advantage of four Kansas errors. Eight of West Virginia’s 10 runs came with two outs.
“He started the game with three straight balls, went 3-0 on the leadoff guy, and came back and struck him out. That really set the tone for the rest of the game,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “He didn’t pitch that far behind in the count the rest of the night. He was throwing strikes. He’s that guy that hitters go back to the dugout not having any idea what pitches they saw. Different angles and speeds and moving different directions, that’s what makes BJ so good.”
Myers faced the minimum three batters in six of his nine innings. Behind him, the defense turned three double plays. Just two batters all night advanced past first base.
Offensively, sophomores Ivan Gonzalez and Kyle Gray both hit two-out home runs. Gonzalez’s, in the first inning, was his second of the season, while Gray’s shot, in the eighth, was the first of his career.
Gonzalez led WVU with three hits, while he and Gray both had a team-best two RBIs.
“Ivan (Gonzalez) and Kyle Gray both. Those two guys had really good years for us last year and started off pretty slow this year,” Mazey added. “They haven’t given up, they haven’t gotten down about it, they’ve ignored the batting averages and keep having really good at-bats. Staying with it and staying confident and now they are getting rewarded for how they acted two-three weeks ago, so it’s good to see.”
The Mountaineers got on the board with the only two runs they would need in the first inning. Gray led off the inning with a walk and scored on Gonzalez’s home run to left field.
As Myers was shutting down the Jayhawks, the Mountaineers added three unearned runs in the fifth inning to make it 5-0. With two outs, a single and back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Darius Hill, who hit a sky-high fly ball to center field. The KU center fielder dropped the ball, allowing all three runs to score.
WVU added to its lead with three more two-out runs in the seventh inning to make it 8-0. With runners on second and third, Hill reached on a throwing error, which allowed both runs to score on the play. Junior left fielder Kyle Davis followed with a double to left to bring home Hill.
Gray’s first career home run in the eighth inning scored sophomore shortstop Jimmy Galusky and put West Virginia ahead, 10-1. It was WVU’s seventh and eighth runs scored with two outs.
Kansas scored its only run on a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, which followed a double and wild pitch.
The series between WVU and KU continues on Saturday at 4 p.m. ET. The series finale has been moved up to a 12:30 p.m. first pitch, to accommodate a change in Kansas’ travel schedule.
Tickets for both remaining games against Kansas are on sale now, at 1-800-WVU GAME, WVUGAME.com or at the Mountaineer Ticket Office in the WVU Coliseum.
NOTES: West Virginia improved to 18-10 on the season and 5-2 in the Big 12 … WVU has won nine of its last 12 games … WVU improved to 8-6 all-time against Kansas and has won four in a row in the series … Starter BJ Myers pitched his first career complete game and the first complete game of the season for the Mountaineers … Myers struck out a career-high-tying 10 batters, allowing one run on five hits with one walk in 9.0 innings … Kyle Gray hit his first career home run in the eighth inning, while Ivan Gonzalez hit his second career home run in the first inning.
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.