Manoah Gets Early Rest As WVU slams GW
MORGANTOWN, W.Va–Half of Alek Manoah was still plenty good enough.
With the postseason looming, West Virginia’s ace pitcher went just three and two-thirds innings Thursday night against George Washington. But it was still good enough for the junior righthander to get the win and improve his record to 8-3 this season, as WVU rolled the Colonials 10-1 at Monongalia County Ballpark.
Manoah struck out four of the 15 GW batters he faced. It certainly didn’t match his pair of 15K, complete game performances earlier in the year, but the four strikeouts still were enough to push his season total to 125. It surpassed West Virginia’s previous single-season best of 124 set by John Radosevich in 1964.
The Mountaineers scored first Thursday when Tyler Doanes crossed the plate in the bottom of the opening inning, driven home on a single by Darius Hill. The Colonials responded, though, with three straight singles and a lone run to begin the second. Monoah stopped the bleeding with three consecutive outs, but the game was tied at 1-1.
It remained that way until the bottom of the third when WVU exploded for seven runs, as it used one walk, six hits and a wild pitch to build an 8-1 lead.
Monoah took that advantage into the top of the fourth and got a couple quick outs. The second of those was a strike out, giving him West Virginia’s single-season record. At that point, WVU head coach Randy Mazey decided to rest the Miami native for the postseason ahead. Mazey brought freshman Ryan Bergert out of the bullpen. Bergert and three other Mountaineer relievers allowed GW no runs and just four hits over the next five and one-third innings. Meanwhile WVU added single runs in the seventh and eighth to capture the non-conference victory.
West Virginia finished the game with 14 hits. Hill led the Mountaineers with a 3-for-4 evening that included an RBI and two runs scored. Kevin Brophy and T.J. Lake were each 2-for-3.
The Colonials had eight hits in the game, four of them coming against Manoah. But they stranded seven runners and didn’t manage any extra base hits.
The Mountaineers improved to 33-18 with Thursday’s win while GW fell to 30-23. The two clubs will return to Mon County Ballpark on Friday night and then finish off the three-game series on Saturday afternoon, which will be the final regular season contest for both clubs.
For Manoah, it was his second shortest outing in his 13 starts this season. Only an early season loss at Oregon State, when he gave up seven runs, four of them earned, and worked just two innings, was shorter.
The this time his early departure had a greater purpose, as he and the Mountaineers are looking ahead to the Big 12 Championships next week in Oklahoma City and then an NCAA Tournament appearance the week after that.