On Sunday, the WVU baseball team fell to Michigan State in the Cambria College Classic by the score of 9-3.
West Virginia (7-4) did not have the pitching or defense to stop the Michigan State offense in Minneapolis today. In particular, WVU could not stop Michigan State shortstop Mitch Jebb. Jebb went 4-for-5 at the plate with four runs batted in, two runs scored and a stolen base.
In the first three frames of play, neither team registered a run. In the top of the first inning, WVU threatened when leadoff hitter Austin Davis singled to open the game and advanced to second base on a throwing error.
With one out, Victor Scott got hit by a pitch, so two runners were now on base. With two outs, freshman Grant Hussey flew out to center field and Michigan State stopped the early Mountaineer threat.
Michigan State was kept out of the hit column in the first three innings by WVU starting pitcher Chris Sleeper.
In the fourth inning, WVU broke the scoreless tie. With one out, Grant Hussey singled up the middle. On the next at-bat, Dayne Leonard was hit by a pitch, which put runners on first and second base with one out. With two outs, Alex Khan singled down the right field line and brought home Grant Hussey for the game’s first run.
Unfortunately for the Mountaineers, the Spartans came alive in the bottom half of the fourth. Michigan State started the inning with two hits and a steal to put runners on first and third with nobody out.
Casey Mayes singled to bring home a run and make the game 1-1. After Mayes’s hit, Brock Vradenburg brought in another run with an RBI sacrifice fly to give Michigan State a 2-1 lead.
On the next at-bat, Zaid Walker doubled to right center field to bring home another Michigan State run.
After the Mountaineers didn’t answer with any hits in the top of the fifth inning, head coach Randy Mazey brought in relief pitcher Zach Bravo to work in the bottom half of the fifth. After getting the first out of the inning, Bravo struggled. He gave up three straight hits, which included a double by Parker Pilat and an RBI triple by Mitch Jebb that extended the Michigan State lead to 4-1.
Mazey brought in relief pitcher Chase Smith to stop the bleeding, and he did just that, as he got two straight outs, leaving a runner stranded on third base.
Neither team did much in the sixth inning, but the Mountaineers did make things interesting in the top of the seventh.
Dayne Leonard started the inning with a single up the middle. Evan Smith and Alex Khan were then walked, and now WVU had the bases loaded with nobody out.
On the next at-bat, Nathan Blasick singled to right field to bring home a run and cut the lead to 4-2. With still nobody out, Michigan State would halt the Mountaineers’ momentum by striking out Austin Davis and forcing a lineout double play to end the inning.
Michigan State had an answer for WVU’s run, as they put two runs across the board in the bottom of the seventh. Mitch Jebb had an RBI double that was followed by a Trent Farquhar RBI single. The Spartans now held a 6-2 lead going into the eighth inning.
In the top of the eighth inning, WVU’s McGwire Holbrook hit a solo home run to cut the lead to 6-3, but Michigan State would continue to add to their lead in the bottom of the eighth.
The Spartans scored three more runs off a throwing error by West Virginia and another big hit from Mitch Jebb. Jebb hit a single that brought home two more runs to extend the lead to 9-3.
WVU did not have an answer in the top half of the ninth inning, as Michigan State retired the Mountaineer hitters in order to complete the 9-3 win.
WVU went 1-2 in the Cambria College Classic in Minneapolis, Minnesota over the weekend, and will be in action again at home on Wednesday against Rider. The game will start at 3 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN+.
Photo from WVU Athletics