MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–The West Virginia University baseball team fell 7-5 in extra innings to Canisius on Tuesday at Monongalia County Ballpark.
The Mountaineers (12-9) and Golden Griffins (10-13) battled back-and-forth in the opening game of the two-game series before Canisius came away with the victory.
“I thought we had good at-bats, and offensively we did ok, it just seemed like the pitchers were afraid to throw it over the plate,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “If you’re a pitcher, you can’t get people out without them hitting the ball. I think we tried to get through the whole game without them ever hitting the ball.”
Conner Dotson suffered the loss. He gave up one run on no hits while walking two in one inning on the mound.
BJ Myers got the start for the Mountaineers but he pitched just two innings. The sophomore righty surrendered one hit and struck out three.
Sophomore third baseman Kyle Davis, freshman right fielder Kyle Gray and senior center fielder KC Huth all had two hits for the Mountaineers.
With two outs, Davis walked in the bottom of the third. Gray drilled a double off the left-center wall, scoring Davis and giving WVU a 1-0 lead. Gray advanced to third on a wild pitch, but Andrew Kneussle struck out freshman right fielder Darius Hill looking to end the inning.
Canisius responded in the fourth when freshman center fielder Mark McKenna singled to right field, scoring right fielder Adam Tricarico. Joseph Preziuso’s triple down the right field line scored two more runs, giving the Golden Griffins a 3-1 lead.
The Mountaineers came firing back in the bottom half of the inning and tied the game 3-all. Freshman second baseman Marques Inman led off the inning with a walk before junior first baseman Jackson Cramer drilled one to the left center gap to pull WVU within one. Huth’s single through the left side moved Cramer to third and freshman catcher Ivan Vera’s sacrifice fly to right field tied the game.
Canisius took the lead back in the fifth. The two-run inning started with a bases-loaded walk and ended with a single.
The Mountaineers got a run back in the bottom of the fifth when Inman’s sacrifice fly scored Davis to make it a 5-4 deficit.
Hill’s double down the left field line scored Davis and tied the game 5-5 in the bottom of the seventh.
Dotson came on in relief in the ninth inning and walked the first batter he faced but the sophomore right-hander struck out McKenna to get out of the bases loaded jam.
WVU had a chance to win it in it in the bottom of the ninth but the Mountaineers squandered a golden opportunity. Gray reached on a fielder’s choice and stole second. He advanced to third on a balk but pinch hitter Shaun Wood grounded out to send the game to extra innings.
Control issues plagued WVU in the 10th. The Golden Griffins scored two runs on one hit with four walks to take a 7-5 lead.
The Mountaineers loaded the bases with two outs on a walk, a hit by pitch and a single, but Davis fouled out to end the game.
Cramer’s base hit in the fourth extended his reached base streak to a team-high and career-best 41 games,
The series against the Canisius concludes Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m.