MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Jackson Cramer’s two-run blast lifted West Virginia University past Jacksonville 5-3 in the home opener at Monongalia County Ballpark on Friday.
Entering the bottom of the ninth, the Mountaineers (11-8) trailed 3-1 but a throwing error and a walk put the tying run on base for WVU. Brandon White’s sacrifice bunt moved the runners into scoring position.
With two outs, Kyle Davis came to the plate and reached on third baseman Sam Armstrong’s throwing error. Ivan Gonzalez scored from third and Jimmy Galusky hustled home from second to tie the game at 3-3.
Then Cramer walked it off with a two-run homer to center field.
“We’ve played on the road so much that we never get the last at-bat,” head coach Randy Mazey said. “I told the guys going into today that the last at-bat means the world, and we never got to do that. I think this will give us confidence at home. If we get in that situation again, down by two in the ninth, our guys know that we can win at any time.”
Kade Strowd (1-0) pitched 3.1 innings of scoreless baseball and earned his first win. He struck out two and gave up three hits.
Kyle Davis led WVU with two hits.
The Mountaineers scored five runs on six hits.
Spencer Stockton (3-2) suffered the loss for the Dolphins (11-13). Starter Michael Baumann struck out a career-high 12 batters. He allowed just one run to score on four hits and three walks in 6.2 innings of work but picked up the no-decision.
The Dolphins opened up the scoring in the top of the first inning. With one out, Scott Dubrule doubled to center field and scored on Armstrong’s base hit to right to give Jacksonville a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the fifth, the Dolphins tacked on another run when Nathan Koslowski doubled to right center, scoring Dakota Julylia.
Jacksonville took a 3-0 edge in the sixth on Chris Lehane’s deep sacrifice fly drove in Armstrong, who led off the inning with a single to right field.
WVU ended the Dolphins’ shutout in the seventh. Chase Illig singled and two wild pitches sent the freshman to third. White’s single to right field scored Illig and cut the Mountaineers deficit to two.
WVU and Jacksonville will play a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon beginning at 3 p.m. Due to inclement weather, Sunday’s game was moved up a day.
Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS