WVU Can’t Capitalize On Jake Carr’s Pitching, Drops 2-1 Decision To Illinois
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Following West Virginia’s win over St. Joseph’s on Saturday afternoon, head coach Randy Mazey noted that he was confident Mountaineer hitting would come around as the season progressed. He’s right, of course, as it often takes bats time to get going in the early stages of the campaign, but that doesn’t make losses like Sunday afternoon’s 2-1 decision to Illinois any easier to take.
Freshman pitcher Jake Carr made just one mistake in eight innings, but that one was enough to give the Illini the win, as the Mountaineers were blanked over the final eight innings. Carr allowed only five hits, struck out three and did not walk a batter, but an 0-1 pitch to Branden Comia was just a little too much over the plate, and he smacked it deep over the left field wall for a two-run homer that provided the decisive margin.
That tagged Carr with the loss, and totally undeservedly. He faced just three batters over the minimum, throwing 57 strikes in 85 pitches. Unfortunately, WVU, after plating a run in the first, saw its offense go into a funk.
At the top of the order, Braden Zarbnisky was 4-4 and Tyler Doanes was 2-4 in the two hole, but the rest of the line-up produced just one hit – a single by Victor Scott, who also had a walk on the afternoon. The Mountaineers left seven runners on base, and had two runners caught stealing.
Illinois starter Cole Kirschsieper wasn’t quite as efficient as Carr, but kept WVU from producing in the clutch. He allowed six hits and one earned run while walking four and striking out none. West Virginia got to him early as Zarbnisky and Doanes singled to put runners on the corners with none out, but the Mountaineers managed just a fielder’s choice RBI from Paul McIntosh.
West Virginia loaded the bases in the third and put a runner aboard at two different points in the eighth, but could not come up with the final hit needed to tie the score or take the lead.
WVU plays Coastal Carolina at 4:00 p.m., or perhaps a bit later, on Sunday, pending the completion time of the Chanticleers’ early game.
SEAMS AND BARRELS
The game was played in an ultra-efficient one hour and 58 minutes. With just 202 pitches – 135 for strikes – the contest moved along at a rapid pace.
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Following the game, WVU bused 12 miles to Coastal Carolina’s Springs Brooks Stadium in Conway to face the Chanticleers, who hosted Kennesaw State while the Mountaineers were playing Illinois in Myrtle Beach.
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One of Zarbnisky’s hits was a masterful demonstration of his unique bat control. Facing pitcher Cole Kirschsieper, who was charging to field a threatened bunt, Zarbnisky squared, then poked it over his head. The blooper fell right behind the mound for a single.