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West Virginia Falls in Friday’s Home Opener

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (March 12, 2021) – The No. 23-ranked West Virginia University baseball team fell, 5-3, to Central Michigan in Friday’s home opener at Monongalia County Ballpark.

The Mountaineers took an early 2-0 lead, before the Chippewas battled back to take control. WVU finished with three runs on five hits with two errors, while CMU tallied five runs on five hits with no errors.

Jordan Patty (1-0) earned the win for CMU, while senior left-handed pitcher Jackson Wolf (1-1) took the loss for the Mountaineers. The Chippewas’ Ian Leatherman was credited with the save.

“We weren’t quite as sharp,” WVU assistant coach Steve Sabins said. “Everyone really competed, and I felt like the intent and the focus was good. Having the time off and not having (simulated) games and scrimmages, I think that has something to do with it. But, bottom line, we have to be better.”

Wolf allowed just two hits in his five innings of work, allowing four runs (three earned) with five strikeouts and five walks. The Mountaineers (4-4) gave the Gahanna, Ohio, native a lead in the bottom of the third when sophomore catcher/infielder Matt McCormick smashed a two-run double down the right-field line to make it 2-0. From there, though, the Chippewas took back the momentum.

CMU (4-4) struck for three runs in the fourth to take a one-run lead. First, a sacrifice fly cut WVU’s lead in half, before a two-run triple gave the visitors a 3-2 advantage. 

Central Michigan added another run in the sixth on a bases-loaded walk. In the eighth, CMU made it a 5-2 game on an RBI infield single. In both frames, WVU faced bases-loaded situations and were able to limit the damage. 

McCormick added to his production in the bottom of the ninth, as he attempted to spark a late rally with a solo home run to left. That made it 5-3, but the Mountaineers could draw no closer. The big fly marked McCormick’s team-leading fourth of the season. He finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs.

Freshman infielder Mikey Kluska also tallied multiple hits in the setback. On the mound, redshirt sophomore right-handed pitcher Noah Short, freshman lefty Ben Hampton, junior righty Madison Jeffrey and sophomore right-hander Carter Lyles all worked an inning out of the bullpen.

With the loss, WVU fell to 0-2 all-time against the Chippewas. The squad also slipped to 6-1 in home openers at Monongalia County Ballpark.

Next up, the series concludes with a doubleheader on Saturday. First pitch of the twin bill’s opener is set for 11 a.m. ET, with Game 2 slated to start approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of Game 1. Fans can follow along with the Mountaineers all weekend long with live stats and live audio links, found at WVUsports.com. Both of Saturday’s contests also will be broadcast live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.

Press Release Courtesy of West Virginia University Athletics Communications

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