WVU Digs In, Salvages Series Finale Vs. Oregon State
West Virginia can only hope its baseball season builds as the Mountaineers did during a weekend series against third-ranked Oregon State.
WVU suffered a blowout loss to the Beavers on Friday night, but bounced back to play well in a 4-2 loss on Saturday, and capped the progression with a 2-0 win on Sunday that featured stellar defense and one of the odder, though effective, pitching lines of the season. WVU (6-5) turned five double plays and threw out an OSU baserunner attempting to steal while weathering nine walks and making an early two-run inning stand up.
West Virginia jumped out to the lead in the top of the second when Kevin Brophy led off the inning with a home run to right. Two batters later, Paul McIntosh repeated the feat, only this time to left, to give the Mountaineers a 2-0 advantage. That somewhat mirrored Oregon State’s attack on Saturday, when the Beavers scored all four of their runs courtesy of the long ball. On Sunday, however, they were held in check.
WVU starter Kade Strowd (1-1), pitching carefully to the potent Oregon State (10-1) lineup, allowed nine walks in 6.1 innings. Usually, that many free baserunners spells disaster, but he weathered them thanks to stellar West Virginia defense and the ability to force ground balls. He benefited from five double plays on the day, with the last erasing his final baserunner allowed as reliever Beau Lowery induced the 6-4-3 twin killing. Owing to the walks, Strowd threw 105 pitches, but lowered his ERA to 1.56 on the season. He gave up just one hit, holding the Beavers hitless through the first six innings, and struck out five. The defense was airtight behind him, committing no errors.
West Virginia also got good relief stints from Lowery, who came on in relief in the seventh to get the double play, and Sam Kessler, who held OSU at bay despite yielding doubles in both the eighth and ninth innings. He struck out three to preserve the win and earn his second save.
Oregon State suffered double plays in the first, third, fifth, sixth and seventh innings, and even with those left another six runners on base. OSU gathered just three hits on the afternoon, with one each in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Starter Sam Tweedt, who allowed both home runs, took the loss.
West Virginia held Oregon State to its two lowest scoring outputs of the season, giving up four runs on Saturday and blanking the home team on Sunday. The Beavers were averaging more than 10 runs per game coming into the series.
Tyler Doanes had two of WVU’s five hits, but it was the solo homers of Brophy and McIntosh that made the difference. Doanes is now hitting .341 on the year, while Darius Hill, who had the other hit, is at .302.
West Virginia returns home to Monongalia County Ballpark for a three-game weekend set against Kent State. The first game is scheduled for Friday at 3 p.m. Alek Manaoh is scheduled to start for West Virginia.
Twenty-five of the 27 outs recorded by WVU pitchers came via either ground balls or strikeouts.
West Virginia improved to 3-2 all-time against defending national champions, with all five games coming on the road.
Four of WVU’s five double plays ended innings.
Kevin Brophy hit his seventh career home run and first of the season to lead off the second inning
Paul McIntosh hit his first career home run in the second inning.
Tyler Doanes extended his reached-base streak to a career-long 16 games, a streak that began last season.