Press Release Courtesy: Charlie Healy- WVUsports.com
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team took advantage of several Morehead State miscues to win its fourth consecutive game, 5-1 on Wednesday evening at Monongalia County Ballpark.
The Mountaineers (17-10) scored two runs in the first inning and another two in the third. The runs came on a combined four walks, three wild pitches, two throwing errors along with a failed pickoff attempt and two hits, both singles in the third.
The WVU pitching staff held the Eagles (22-7), one of the nation’s best teams offensively, to just one run on four hits. It was the second time all season MSU was held to fewer than two runs and six hits.
“We went into it knowing that they’re the No. 1 offensive team in all of college baseball,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. Alek Manoah came to me last night and said ‘come on man, give me the ball.’ I said ‘you better be careful what you ask for, big man. They’re hitting .340 as a team.’ He said ‘I want it,’ so that’s encouraging, knowing that a guy wants to pitch against a team like that. He just went out, attacked the strike zone and hit a couple of their batters, got them off the plate a little bit and did really well. That’s super encouraging.”
Making his first career start, Manoah allowed just one hit and no runs in 3.2 innings. The freshman right-hander struck out one and walked one. Manoah turned in a highlight-reel play in the second inning, snagging a soft-hit line drive with his bare hands and throwing to first base for the double play.
Manoah was followed by freshman Cody Wood, making his first career appearance. Wood, who earned the win, pitched 2.1 innings and allowed one run on one hit with two strikeouts and a walk.
Wood entered the game in the fourth inning with the bases loaded, but on the first pitch of his career, he got a flyout to end the inning.
“His first pitch in college is with the bases loaded and two outs,” Mazey said. “The kid has worked his tail off since he’s been here. He deserves everything good that happens to him. You throw like that; you throw more often, I’m so anxious to see him back out there pretty soon.”
WVU won its fourth consecutive game and ninth in its last 12 games. In front of 1,144 fans on Wednesday, the Mountaineers improved to 4-1 at home.
The Mountaineers got on the board with two runs, on no hits, in the first inning. Sophomore second baseman Kyle Gray led off the inning with a walk, advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt and reached third on a wild pitch. Freshman center fielder Brandon White then walked, and took second on a wild pitch. A groundout then scored Gray, and another wild pitch brought home White from third, with two outs.
West Virginia added another two runs in the third inning. It again started with a walk to Gray. White followed with a single, and Gray advanced to third on a throwing error. When White stole second, Gray made it a 3-0 game when he scored on a throwing error by the MSU catcher. With the bases loaded, White scored on a fielder’s choice to put WVU ahead, 4-0.
The Eagles’ best scoring threat early came in the fourth inning, when they loaded the bases on two hit batters and a walk. However, with two outs, Wood came in and ended the inning with a flyout.
WVU added on, making it 5-0, with a run in the fifth. Junior designated hitter Kyle Davis doubled and sophomore right fielder Darius Hilll singled up the middle to score Davis. It was Hill’s team-high second RBI of the game.
Morehead State’s only run came in the sixth. With runners on the corners and one out, a balk brought in a run. However, wood got a groundout and a strikeout to end the inning and strand a runner on third.
In the seventh inning, senior righty Jackson Sigman entered with two outs and two on, but got a strikeout to end the inning. Sigman gave up two hits and struck out three in 1.1 innings of work.
Freshman right-hander Riley Troutt closed out the game with a 1-2-3 top of the ninth inning.
West Virginia’s homestand continues this weekend against Kansas at Monongalia County Ballpark. First pitch of Friday’s opener is set for 6:30 p.m., while Saturday’s contest will begin at 4 p.m. and Sunday’s game will start at 1 p.m. With potential inclement weather in the area on Friday, fans are encouraged to stay tuned to WVUsports.com for the latest updates on the weekend’s schedul
Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS