The West Virginia Mountaineers improve to 5-3 on the season after defeating the Towson Tigers (1-6) at Monongalia County Ballpark 8-3 Wednesday afternoon. WVU Head coach Randy Mazey used six different pitchers throughout the day, three were freshmen.
The Mountaineers got their offense going in the first inning. Lead-off hitter Tyler Doanes started it off with an infield single. Then, Ivan Gonzalez drew a walk and Darius Hill singled to right field to load the bases.
Tristan Hudson stepped up to the plate with one out and the bases loaded and hit a grounder to shortstop for the force out at second but scored Doanes from third. Andrew Zitel followed it up with a hit into centerfield, clearing the bases for a 3-0 lead. However, after the throw to home, Zitel was thrown out at second to end the inning.
Brandon White started the second inning drawing a walk, then followed it up with stealing second and third putting him 90-feet away from crossing home plate. Tevin Tucker popped one into right field for the sacrifice fly to give West Virginia a 4-0 lead.
Darius Hill added to the lead with a solo shot over the left field wall for his first homerun of the year.
Freshmen right-hander Brock Helverson came in to start the fourth inning. Starting pitcher Nick Snyder didn’t give up a hit and had six strikeouts in three innings.
West Virginia added another run after Hudson singled into centerfield and Zitel brought him around the bases with a hard-line drive into left centerfield giving the Mountaineers a 6-0 lead.
Brock Helverson pitched two innings giving up one hit and striking out two. Freshman Jeffrey Madison took the hill in the sixth.
Freshmen Zach Ottinger took the mound after Madison pitched one inning and struckout one and gave up no hits.
Towson jumped all over Ottinger to start the seventh inning. On the second pitch, Ottinger hit Brad Powers, then Zach Piazza hit a home run over the bullpen in left field.
Richard Miller put a bunt down the third baseline and beat out the throw to first. Trent Gast-Woodard moved Miller to third with a deep line-drive double to left-centerfield.
A sacrifice grounder to second basemen Tyler Doanes scored Miller from third to give the Tigers three runs in the seventh.
The Mountaineers added two more runs in the eighth on a two-out error by shortstop Colin Conroy as he lifted his glove up a split second too soon on a slow rolling grounder from Tyler Doanes that would bring in Zitel and Tevin Tucker.
West Virginia scheduled the game against Towson over the weekend. It was originally supposed to be played on Tuesday afternoon but got pushed back till today and head coach Randy Mazey was glad they were able to get the game in before taking on the defending National Champion Oregon State Beavers this weekend.
“We hadn’t been swinging the bat all that well lately and to go up to Corvallis not swinging the bat all the great wouldn’t have been ideal.” Stated Mazey after the game. “So, we wanted to get the hitters back out here, see some pitches get some guys swinging the bat pretty well going into the weekend. I think we did that.”
The West Virginia pitching staff has been a bit of a surprise early in the season. The Mountaineers knew they would have to rely on some freshmen this season coming out of the bullpen and have been able to hold their own early on.
“We went into this season thinking we were going to be pretty offensive and weren’t exactly sure what the pitching was going to be like, and it’s been exactly the opposite.” Said Mazey. “But if you’re going to be good at one thing early on you want it to be the pitching. We’re getting ready to find out how good the Mountaineers are now, because we know what we are facing up there.”
There wasn’t any question the Mountaineers were returning a lot of speed from last season and they’ve used it to win games in the first part of the season and had six stolen bases today bringing their total to 17 on the year.
“We said going into it we could win a lot of different ways and speed was one of them. It’s really the biggest way we’ve been winning because we haven’t been banging many home runs.” Explained Mazey It’s nice to know that we can steal bases when we need to, and it just changes the way people pitch to us. You get better pitches to hit when their worried about guys running. We have five or six guys in the lineup that are capable of stealing bases at any time, so that’s nice quality to have in your offense.
With the five-point win, West Virginia has now won four out of their last five heading into Corvallis, Oregon this weekend. The first of the three game series versus the Beavers will be Friday night at 8:35 est.
|Team Batting Totals||29||8||9||6||1||1||1||8||5||1||0||1||7||6||1||27||13||0||—|