Manoah, Wood Respond To Mazey’s Call in Win Over Marshall
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey has been looking for more effective pitching from more contributors as the Mountaineers make their bid for postseason play, and he got it on the back end of WVU’s 11-10 win over Marshall on Tuesday evening. It did take a while to show up, as the Mountaineers and the Herd traded scores early and often, but once the eighth inning arrived, two members of the bullpen turned in excellent three-inning stints, with a third pitcher closing things out in the 13th inning.
“Once we got to Cody Wood on the mound, Cody threw really good, and Alek Manoah threw really good. BJ (Myers) threw really good. When you win a game some guys have to do some good things,” the veteran Mountaineer coach said.
That trio turned around a pitching showing that, up until they entered the fray, had been spotty at best. WVU’s first five pitchers allowed all ten Herd runs in seven innings, and were touched for nine hits while allowing six walks and hitting a pair of Marshall batters. Wood did allow one inherited runner to score on a sacrifice fly, but he gave up only one hit while striking out five of the 12 Herd batters he faced over three innings. With the game tied, Manoah came on for a three-inning stint of his own, and cut loose for four strikeouts and no walks against 11 batters. Finally, Myers nailed things down in the 13th, getting a pop-up with a runner on third to end the game.
“The biggest thing is just to try to come in pound the zone and get those guys (the offense) back out there. I want them to know I have their back, and I want to get them back out there quickly so they can go score,” Manoah said. “I’m happy to take the ball whenever I can get it. As a closer, every pitch means something, and it has been intense a lot of times I have been in there. So I just need to attack the zone. As a reliever, I don’t have to save anything. I can give it everything I’ve got.”
West Virginia’s pitching staff has been a work in progress, and a continuing shuffle for much of the season. Who would have imagined two hurlers projected as weekend starters to be closing out a mid-week game? In order for that to work, the pitchers themselves have had to commit to the process and changing roles.
Mazey and pitching coach Dave Serrano used eight pitchers in the win, which might look on the surface to be a problem in terms of usage. However, the shorter stints shouldn’t produce any lasting harmful effects. In many instances, such as in the case of Myers, it actually fit in with his throwing program. Myers was scheduled to throw 20-some pitches in the bullpen on Tuesday, so the fact that those were pushed to the actual game wasn’t a cause for concern.
“We didn’t pitch anybody out of character to win this game,” Mazey confirmed. “Myers was going to throw 20 pitches in the pen, so you might as well use him. We’ve converted Manoah to the back end, but he’s been a starter, so he can throw three innings. Everybody was right on schedule.”
Manoah threw 37 pitches and Wood 35, with no other WVU reliever throwing more than 23. All should be available for the big Texas series this weekend, when the Mountaineers will again need good pitching across the entire staff to come away with wins.