WVU Doubles Up Virginia Tech
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team won its eighth consecutive midweek matchup with a 10-5 victory over Virginia Tech on Wednesday night at Monongalia County Ballpark.
The Mountaineers (25-21) jumped out to an early 7-0 lead to beat the Hokies (20-27) for the third consecutive time and ninth in the last 13 games. Every Mountaineer had at least one hit, seven drove in one or more runs and eight had at least one run scored. Seven WVU starters had multiple hits or multiple RBIs in the contest.
“We’re having some consistency on offense,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “It appears we got our short game back, which disappeared for a while. I think we had three or four bunt hits tonight. We moved some runners, had some stolen bases and we got a lot of hits, but we didn’t smash balls like we normally do. We didn’t have a lot of extra base hits in the gaps, that type of thing. It’s nice to know that you can win games without being able to do that, by bunting and moving runners and stealing bases, that type of thing.”
Junior second baseman Kyle Gray once again led the offensive effort, extending his hit streak to 23 consecutive games, the longest by a Mountaineer since Dan DiBartolomeo’s 23-game streak in 2009. Gray had a team-high-tying three hits with an RBI and a run scored.
Junior left fielder Braden Zarbnisky and junior shortstop Jimmy Galusky also had three hits, while junior right fielder Darius Hill, junior catcher Ivan Gonzalezand sophomore center fielder Brandon White each had two RBIs.
Gray (24 games), Hill (22) and sophomore first baseman Marques Inman (21) all extended their career-long reached-base streaks in the victory.
WVU scored 10 runs on 17 hits, while Virginia Tech plated five runs on nine hits.
Freshman right-hander Tristen Hudson earned the win, the first of his career. In 1.2 innings in relief, Hudson allowed a run on two hits with a walk.
The Mountaineers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning, scoring first for the 27th time this year and in the first inning for the 20th time this season. Zarbnisky led off the inning with an infield single, and White followed with a walk. Hill then doubled home both Zarbnisky and White, and he scored on Gray’s single up the middle.
WVU added two more in the second to extend its lead to 5-0. Galusky singled and Zarbnisky doubled, both with one out. That set up White, who singled home both runners.
From there, West Virginia made it 7-0 in the third. Galusky reached on an infield single to score freshman third baseman Tyler Doanes, who singled with one out, for the inning’s first run. Zarbnisky followed with an RBI groundout that plated Gonzalez.
Virginia Tech answered with three runs in the fourth inning. The first came on an RBI single off the WVU bullpen, the second on a bases-loaded hit batter and the third on a fielding error.
That cut the West Virginia lead to 7-3, but the Mountaineers got a run back in the bottom of the fourth, as Inman singled home Hill with no outs.
Both teams failed to score in the fifth, and the Hokies added a run in the sixth on a groundout to make it 8-4. Virginia Tech scored another in the seventh, making it 8-5, on another RBI groundout.
The Mountaineers responded with two insurance runs in the eighth to extend their lead to 10-5. Inman and Gray led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and a hit batter loaded the bases for Gonzalez. He singled through the left side, scoring both Inman and Gray.
Sophomore right-handed reliever Alek Manoah finished off the win with a perfect ninth inning, with two strikeouts.
West Virginia plays its final regular-season road games this weekend at TCU. The series in Fort Worth, Texas, begins on Friday, May 11, at 7:30 p.m. ET/6:30 p.m. CT. Saturday’s first pitch is set for 5 p.m. ET/4 p.m. CT, and the game will air on FSSW. The series wraps up on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET/1 p.m. CT.
NOTES: West Virginia improved to 25-21 on the season … WVU has won five of its last seven games and eight consecutive midweek matchups … The Mountaineers have won three in a row and nine of the last 13 games against the Hokies … West Virginia scored in first for the 27th time and in the first inning for the 20th time … Every Mountaineer had at least one hit, seven had at least one RBI and eight scored one or more runs … Kyle Gray extended his hit streak to 23 consecutive games, the longest by a Mountaineer since Dan DiBartolomeo’s 23-game streak in 2009 … Next up is Tyler Kuhn’s 24-game hit streak in 2008 … Gray (24 games), Darius Hill (22) and Marques Inman (21) all extended their career-long reached-base streaks … Tristen Hudson earned his first career win.