Article Courtesy: WVU Communications-Charlie Healy
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–The West Virginia University baseball team opened its series against Texas with a resounding 11-2 victory on Friday evening.
With the win, WVU coach Randy Mazey won his 300th career game. In his 10th season, Mazey owns a 300-258-2 career record. He is 113-98 in his fourth season at West Virginia.
On a rainy Friday evening in front of 1,501 fans at Monongalia County Ballpark, every batter in the WVU lineup recorded at least one hit as the Mountaineers (25-19, 9-9) benefited from another strong start by junior right-hander Chad Donato.
The explosive West Virginia offense recorded 15 hits and scored four runs in the third inning and three in both the seventh and eighth.
Meanwhile, Donato (3-3) held the Longhorns (21-25, 9-10) to two runs on five hits in 7.0 innings. He struck out six, walked just two and was aided by several stellar defensive plays to complete the well-rounded team victory.
“That wasn’t his best stuff, but that was his grittiest performance,” Mazey said of Donato. “It’s not easy to pitch when every time you throw a pitch, the ball gets wet and the mound gets slippery. Then all of a sudden they get to within 5-2 with two runners on base and he goes strikeout, strikeout, to end that threat. Those two outs right there were the epitome of Chad Donato and his career here and what a grinder he is.”
Three Mountaineers, junior Jackson Cramer and freshmen Ivan Vera and Braden Zarbnisky, had two hits and two RBIs a piece. Vera, who added two highlight-reel plays in the field, was joined by Zarbnisky and fellow freshmen Kyle Gray and Darius Hill with two runs scored.
Junior Shaun Wood blasted his 13th home run of his career and second of the season in the eighth inning.
While Donato had two 1-2-3 innings, it was his work with runners on that was instrumental to keeping the Longhorns off the scoreboard. Texas stranded six runners on base. In the seventh, with WVU clinging to a 5-1 lead, UT loaded the bases with no outs but managed to score just one run.
In relief of Donato, junior righty Jackson Sigman was just as good. He pitched the final 2.0 innings and did not allow a baserunner while striking out three.
Texas took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a home run by Zane Gurwitz.
In the bottom of the third though, the Mountaineers used a big four-run inning to take a 4-1 advantage. The inning began with three consecutive singles, capped by freshman Jimmy Galusky’s RBI hit to right field to plate senior KC Huth.
Zarbnisky followed with a sacrifice fly to score Gray to give WVU a 2-1 lead. The advantage became 3-1 when Hill reached on a fielder’s choice. The four-run inning concluded with a double by Vera to score Hill.
WVU added a run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice bunt by Huth to score Vera.
After Texas scored one in the top of the seventh, West Virginia blew the game open with three runs in the bottom half. The inning again began with the first two batters reaching base. With two outs and two runners on, Vera singled to score Zarbnisky. Cramer followed with a triple to the wall in right center to score Vera and Hill.
The Mountaineers added three more runs in the eighth inning to push the lead to 11-2. With two outs, Zarbnisky doubled to score Gray. Wood then pinch hit and crushed a home run to the party deck in right field.
The series continues on Saturday, with first pitch moved up to 2 p.m. ET. Sunday’s series finale will begin at 1 p.m.