MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Four pitchers combined to throw a no-hitter in the West Virginia University baseball team’s 8-0 win over Kent State on Wednesday night at Monongalia County Ballpark.
Freshman right-handed pitcher Tyler Strechay, redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Dillon Meadows and freshmen right-handed pitchers Skylar Gonzalez and Jacob Watters all contributed on the mound to help the Mountaineers earned their first nine-inning no-hitter since Billy Biggs on March 8, 2002, against Buffalo. Strechay pitched five perfect innings, striking out a pair, before Meadows entered for two innings in the sixth and seventh. From there, Gonzalez and Watters capped the historic night with a pair of scoreless frames.
“We have a pretty young staff, so this teaches them,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “Strechay went out there and dominated the game with his fastball. I tell these guys all the time, ‘I don’t care how good your curveball is, or how good your changeup is. Pitching always comes back to your fastball.’ If you can command your fastball and keep it out of the middle of the plate and throw strikes with it, you’ll always have success.”
The Mountaineers, who also hit three home runs in the victory, tallied eight runs on 10 hits, while the Golden Flashes finished with no runs on no hits. Both teams committed an error.
Strechay earned the win, the first of his Mountaineer career. The result evens his season record to 1-1.
WVU (8-4) jumped on the visitors early, scoring a first-inning run for the third consecutive game. Redshirt sophomore catcher/designated hitter Vince Ippoliti drove home sophomore outfielder/infielder Austin Davis to make it 1-0.
The Mountaineers added another run in the bottom of the second when freshman catcher/infielder Matt McCormick blasted a ball to deep center for his third home run of the campaign. That made it 2-0, before West Virginia registered six more runs in the third.
After redshirt senior outfielder/right-handed pitcher Braden Zarbnisky hit a leadoff triple, Davis brought him home with an RBI groundout. Later on, senior infielder Kevin Brophy smacked a three-run homer to right field to give WVU a 6-0 lead.
Three batters later, freshman outfielder Victor Scott also homered, a two-run shot to left, stretching the Mountaineer advantage to 8-0. WVU finished with six runs on three hits in the frame.
Strechay continued to dominate in the fourth and fifth innings, completely keeping Kent State (6-5) off the base paths. The Golden Flashes didn’t get their first baserunner until the sixth, thanks to a two-out walk. However, no further harm was done as Meadows got the final out of the inning moments later.
After a scoreless eighth from Gonzalez, Watters came on to finish the job. The Rocky Gap, Virginia, native got a ground ball to first base on the final out, covering the bag to cap the squad’s combined no-hitter.
“We’ve pitched pretty well so far,” Mazey said. “If you’re going to do one thing well early on, that’s what you want to do. You want to win, but you’d prefer not to win, 14-12, because if you can’t pitch, you can’t win.”
At the plate, Brophy and Zarbnisky each finished 2-for-4 in the win. In all, seven of WVU’s nine starters had at least one hit.
With the win, the Mountaineers have now won 13 consecutive home, midweek nonconference games at Monongalia County Ballpark. It also marked the squad’s fourth straight win over Kent State.
Next up, WVU returns to the road for a three-game series at Mercer, from March 6-8, in Macon, Georgia. Friday’s opener at OrthoGeorgia Park is set for 6 p.m. ET, with Saturday and Sunday’s games slated to start at 2 p.m., and 1 p.m., respectively.
Press Release Credit: WVU Athletics Communications
Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS