Mountaineer Baseball Falls To Coastal Carolina
The West Virginia University baseball team rallied with a two-run seventh inning and loaded the bases in the ninth, but lost its final game of the Brittain Resorts Invitational, 5-2 at Coastal Carolina on Sunday afternoon.
The Mountaineers (2-5) scored two runs on nine hits with two errors, while the host Chanticleers (6-2) plated five runs, three earned, on eight hits with no errors.
“We aren’t playing great right now on all three sides of the ball all at the same time, but there were a lot of bright spots this weekend,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “Some guys that we didn’t expect to swing the bats well are swinging the bats well and we’re starting to learn a little bit more about our pitchers.
“This time of year, it’s all about getting better every day. It’d be nice to win games while you’re doing it, but you learn a lot more about your team when you don’t win then when you do win. We’ve got a good team that’s not playing well right now, but we’ll figure that out. I’m not worried about that part of it.”
The WVU offense was powered by back-to-back home runs in the seventh inning by juniors Jimmy Galusky and Kyle Gray. It was Galusky’s third homer of the year and second in as many days, while it was Gray’s first. Trailing 4-0 at the time, the back-to-back long balls cut the deficit in half. West Virginia then loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth inning, but could not get any runs across.
Both Galusky and Gray paced WVU with two hits and an RBI.
Coastal Carolina scored single runs in the second, third, fourth, fifth and seventh innings. Mountaineer pitchers stranded nine CCU runners on base.
Junior right-handed pitcher/designated hitter Braden Zarbnisky made his first start of the season. In 3.0 innings, he allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits with six strikeouts and two walks. He suffered his first loss of the year.
As part of a two-hit day, Andrew Zitel led off the second inning with a double, extending his hitting streak to a career-best four games. However, he was stranded at second, and the Chanticleers answered with one run in the bottom half, on a two-out double that followed a leadoff walk. CCU added another run in the third on a sacrifice fly to go ahead 2-0
Sophomore righty Isaiah Kearns relieved Zarbnisky on the mound to start the fourth. Back-to-back hits led to a sacrifice fly, but Kearns limited the damage with consecutive strikeouts to end the inning and strand a pair in scoring position. Coastal made it 4-0 in the fifth with a solo home run.
After a leadoff walk in the sixth, senior right-hander Shane Ennis picked off a runner and got a groundout and a flyout to end the inning while stranding runners on the corners and holding CCU off the scoreboard.
The Mountaineers got on the board in the seventh, thanks to Galusky and Gray’s back-to-back home runs. That cut the WVU deficit in half, to 4-2, but Coastal answered with one run in the bottom half on a bases-loaded hit batter. A flyout ended the inning and limited the damage, and CCU took a 5-2 lead into the eighth.
After WVU was retired in order in the eighth, West Virginia threatened in the ninth thanks to Galusky’s leadoff single. Sophomore center fielder Brandon White reached on an infield single with two outs to put runners on the corners, and a walk loaded the bases. However, a groundout ended the scoring chance, and the game.
NOTES: West Virginia falls to 2-5 on the season, with all seven games coming away from home … Coastal Carolina leads the all-time series 8-4, but the Mountaineers have won two of the last three and three of the last five … Andrew Zitel extended his hitting streak to a career-best four games and recorded his third career multi-hit game and first since 2016 … Ivan Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to a season-best four games … Jimmy Galusky hit his third home run of the season, eighth of his career and second in as many games in the seventh inning … Kyle Gray, the very next batter, followed with his first home run of the season and fourth of his career … Gonzalez threw out a career-high-tying two batters for the second game this weekend … Braden Zarbnisky suffered the loss, his first of the season.