MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (February 27, 2019) – The West Virginia University baseball team took a 3-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back in an 8-3 victory over Towson on Wednesday afternoon at Monongalia County Ballpark in Morgantown.
Nineteen Mountaineers (5-3) saw action in the win as the offense scored its eight runs on nine hits. Seven WVU pitchers held the Tigers (1-6) to three runs on six hits, and all but one pitcher allowed no runs on one or fewer hits.
Junior left-hander Nick Snyder earned his first career win. In his second start of the season, Snyder did not allow a hit in 3.0 innings pitched. He struck out a career-best six batters and had no walks. Junior righty Dillon Meadows entered the game in the ninth inning with the bases loaded and one out and got a double play to end the game to collect his first career save.
West Virginia’s offensive attack included a home run by senior right fielder Darius Hill, one double, a triple and six stolen bases, three by junior center fielder Brandon White. His three stolen bases marks the second time in WVU’s two home games this year that a Mountaineer has three or more steals in a game.
“I said coming into this game we could win in a lot of different ways, and speed was one of them,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “Speed is really the biggest way we have been winning since we haven’t been hitting a lot of home runs. It’s nice to know that we can steal bases when we need to, and it just changes the way people pitch to us. We get better pitches to hit when they are worried about guys running. We have five or six guys who are capable of stealing bases at any time, so it is a nice quality to have in your offense.”
With the win, WVU improved to 2-0 at home and has won four of its last five games. Wednesday’s matchup also is the second February home game in program history, after West Virginia added a contest against Canisius last week, where the Mountaineers beat CC, 5-4, on Feb. 19.
Hill led the team with three hits and senior first baseman Andrew Zitel had two hits, a team-best three RBIs and a run scored.
The Mountaineers scored three runs in the first and one in the second, third and fifth innings to take a 6-0 lead. Towson cut WVU’s lead in half with a three-run seventh, but West Virginia answered with two runs in the eighth.
West Virginia jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Sophomore second basemen Tyler Doanes led off the inning with a single and a walk by senior catcher Ivan Gonzalez and a Hill single followed to load the bases. Sophomore third baseman Tristen Hudson then reached on a fielder’s choice, which scored Doanes and got the Mountaineers on the board. With two outs, Zitel singled to center to score a pair.
WVU made it 4-0 in the second on a sacrifice fly by freshman shortstop Tevin Tucker, which scored White.
Meanwhile, Snyder struck out two in the first, one in the second and another two in the third, with a perfect 1-2-3 second and third innings.
Hill’s home run led off the third with his first home run of the season and team-leading 12th of his career.
Freshman righty Brock Helverson took over in the fourth and worked around back-to-back walks to lead off the inning. Gonzalez threw out two runners at third, one caught stealing and one picked off, before Helverson got a strikeout to end the frame.
Helverson threw a 1-2-3 fifth inning before the Mountaineers extended their lead to 6-0 in the bottom half. With two outs, Hudson singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. That set up Zitel, who doubled him home.
Freshman righty Madison Jeffrey made his WVU debut and threw a perfect sixth inning. Freshman right-hander Zach Ottinger gave up a two-run home run and RBI groundout in the seventh, as Towson got on the board and cut into the WVU lead.
Hudson and senior left-hander Zach Reid combined to hold the Tigers scoreless in the eighth before the Mountaineers added two unearned runs in the bottom half.
Zitel reached on an error to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a groundout. Tucker then walked and stole second to put two in scoring position for Doanes, who reached on a fielding error by the shortstop as Zitel and Tucker scored.
With one out and the bases loaded in the top of the ninth, Meadows came in and got a 6-4-3 double play to end the game.
For the second time in program history, and second time in the last three years, the Mountaineers will play at the defending NCAA champions when they visit Oregon State next weekend. The series in Corvallis, Oregon, begins on Friday, March 1, at 8:35 p.m. ET/5:35 p.m. PT. On Saturday, first pitch at Goss Stadium at Coleman Field is set for 4:35 p.m. ET, while the series concludes on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. ET.
Cover Photo Credit: Jeff Ruff, BGS
Press Release Credit: WVU Athletics Communications