WVU Corrals Herd In Charleston
CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia shuffled its lineup a bit for its mid-week game against Marshall on Wednesday, and it paid immediate dividends. West Virginia scored single runs in each of its first two at-bats, then exploded for nine in the top of the third on the way to a 15-3 win over the Herd.
The Mountaineers (14-10) jumped out on top in the first when Paul McIntosh doubled deep off the center field wall to drive Ivan Gonzalez home. That came off Marshall starter Wade Martin, who, in coming back from Tommy John surgery, made his first start of the season and pitched one inning. That single run was enough to tag him with the loss.
In the second, the Herd (14-9) committed a self-inflicted wound when pitcher Philip Hoffman walked four consecutive Mountaineers to push the second run of the game across. Zac McNeel came on in relief to shut the door with the bases still loaded, keeping Marshall in the game — at least temporarily.
All that changed in the top of the third, though, when WVU sent 13 batters to the plate, scoring nine runs on five hits. The inning started when Paul McIntosh reached on a seemingly innocuous error, but that opened the floodgates. Andrew Zitel singled home a run, TJ Lake got a sacrifice fly, and Tyler Doanes doubled home a run. Austin Davis scored on a wild pitch, Darius Hill doubled home two, and McIntosh, hitting for the second time in the inning, got the home run he just missed in his first at bat, hitting a line shot over the right field wall to push the score to 11-0.
Even that wasn’t enough for West Virginia, though. The fourth saw two more runs go up for the visiting Mountaineers, courtesy of a bases-loaded walk and a fielder’s choice, putting Marshall in a 13-0 hole.
Graced with a huge lead, WVU starter Nick Snyder’s biggest challenge was staying loose while he waited out some long innings. The lean lefthander negotiated those lengthy stretches on the bench well, completing four innings while allowing just two hits and one run. One of the hits was a very questionable call in the fourth, on a bouncer to second that should have been the third out of the inning. That, coupled with an earlier error and an walk, allowed the Herd to score their first run of the game.
Outside of that, however, Snyder was good. He recorded seven strikeouts, although he did allow five walks and the one unearned run in getting his fourth win of the year against one loss.
West Virginia then went to its bullpen in succeeding innings, hoping to build some confidence after a rough weekend series against Baylor. Dillon Meadows hurled a 1-2-3 fifth, while Madison Jeffrey had an adventurous sixth. A hit batter, a walk and an error loaded the bases with one out, but a 6-4-3 double play served to get him out of the inning unscathed.
WVU added two runs on a pair of bases-loaded walks in the seventh.
Pitching the home half of the seventh, Zach Reid was victimized by an error in center field, which put a runner on third. He then gave up a single that scored the run, but it, like Snyder’s was unearned.
Brock Helverson pitched the eighth, and had a spate of wildness. After opening with a strikeout, he hit three batters and uncorked a wild pitch to allow a run, but then got another strikeout and a fly ball to end the frame. Zach Ottinger handled the ninth in three-up three-down fashion to close out the contest.
McIntosh had a big night at the plate, going 3-6, including a double and a home run, while producing three RBI. He also scored twice. Gonzalez, again displaying his disciplined approach at the plate, was 2-2 while working three walks. He scored three times, as did Tevin Tucker.
Austin Davis, getting the start in center, had a hit and a walk while scoring twice.
West Virginia will try to build on the win and get back on track in the Big 12 when it hosts Oklahoma for a three-game series this weekend in Morgantown. The Sooners are off to a great start, standing 21-5 overall and 3-0 in the league after a sweep of Kansas in their conference openers. The Mountaineers were on the opposite end of the broom, as Baylor won three consecutive games against them in Waco last weekend.
West Virginia won its sixth consecutive contest against the Herd, and also owns eight wins in the last nine meetings. Since 1993, West Virginia has won 17 of the last 20 against Marshall in the in-state series. WVU leads the all-time series, 47-24, which began in 1910.
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West Virginia came close to equaling its largest margin of victory in the series. On April 5, 1988, the Mountaineers rang up a 17-2 win over the Herd.
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WVU came into the game with an RPI of 34, while the Herd was slotted at 164.
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The contest took three hours and 48 minutes to play.
“Is the game over already?” WVU head coach Randy Mazey joked at the conclusion of the contest, which wound up in front of about three dozen fans out of the original attendance of 2,182.
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Marshall walked 11 Mountaineer batters, while WVU reciprocated with six. There were also three wild pitches and five hit batters in the contest, which featured a total of 14 pitchers.