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An Unexpected Player Giving WVU Baseball Much-Needed Offense

In the top of the sixth inning, the WVU baseball team was adding insurance runs on the board as they were trying to avoid a sweep against Baylor on April 11. A homerun by Matt McCormick extended the one-run lead to three.

Fast-forward to May 1 and the Mountaineers were still looking for their next free trip around the bases. After McCormick’s homerun on April 11, West Virginia went eight games without a homerun—yes, as a team.

Limping into the series with No. 5 TCU, redshirt sophomore Alec Burns was hungry looking for more reps on the field. Burns had only appeared in five games, hitting 1-for-4. Against the Horned Frogs, Burns got his opportunity to start at third base.

In the eighth inning with his team needing a rally, Burns was able to drive a ball past the left-field wall for a homerun; giving the Mountaineers their first team homerun in 20 days.

“That’s the first home run we’ve hit since the Sunday game at Baylor [April 11] and that happens to be my favorite play on offense so [we] put Burnsie in there and see what he can do,” WVU manager Randy Mazey said.

The Amherst, New Hampshire native finished the game with a homerun, two runs-batted-in and a walk. Mazey said Burns would get another chance and he has ever since.

On Wednesday night, the Mountaineers hosted the backyard brawl with No. 16 Pitt. It was a great night for the baseball program as former player and current Baltimore Oriole John Means threw a no-hitter just an hour before the first pitch at Monongalia County Ballpark. The night was only going to get better.

West Virginia squashed No. 16 Pitt, 8-2.

Once again, Burns started at third base and took full advantage of it. Burns hit 2-for-3 and scoring both times he reached on-base. There is a clear different energy when Burns is in the lineup.

“[Burns has added] just some intent. He’s come in there and he’s swinging with a purpose. He’s trying to hit the ball in the river and it’s hard to hit the ball in the river if you don’t swing hard enough. He’s got some power and a little bit of a feel for hitting.”

“He’s giving us a whole different dimension there in that spot in the lineup,” Mazey added.

Burns and the Mountaineers will attempt to carry their big win over Pitt into the next series against Oklahoma. The first pitch of the three-game series in Morgantown will begin on Friday at 6:30 p.m.

(Top Photo: WVU Baseball)

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