WVU Early Lead Dissipates As Winning Streak Snapped
West Virginia began Wednesday’s game at Morehead State the same way it did Tuesday’s clash – by jumping out on top early. From there, though, the script deviated, as the homestanding Eagles put up a total of nine runs in the second, third and fourth innings to record a 9-6 win and split the series at one game each.
For the second game in a row, WVU came out with a home run attack in the top of the first. One day after Darius Hill staked the Mountaineers to an early 3-0 lead, Ivan Gonzalez and Marques Inman did the same. The Mountaineer catcher went deep to center field to drive home Tyler Doanes in front of him, and one batter later Inman followed on a similar trajectory to increase the lead to 3-0.
In the second, West Virginia, again following a familiar script, went from long ball to small ball to add to the lead. Tevin Tucker walked, stole second, then came around to score on a throwing error, advancing the lead to 4-0.
From there it was mostly downhill for the Mountaineers. West Virginia starter Brock Helverson had an uneventful first inning, but was knocked from box in the third due to a combination of miscues and key Eagle hits. Morehead State took the lead in the second with a five run outburst, vitally aided by three hit batters, a WVU error, a passed ball and a wild pitch. The damage continued in the fourth, when a hit batter and another error put two on and none out. A walk and a groundout brought two more runs home, building the MSU advantage to 8-4.
WVU had chances to rally late, putting two runners on in both the seventh and eighth innings, but could only scratch out one run via a wild pitch.
Helverson, who has pitched well in his freshman season, took the loss. He gave up eight runs, including six earned, in 2.1 innings. Five hits, and four hit batters, also contributed heavily to his early exit.
It was expected to be a bullpen day for WVU, with multiple pitchers taking their turns on the mound, and after the third those called upon did well. Four relievers accounted for 5.2 innings, with only Zach Reid allowing a score, and that just a single run in the fourth.
Marques Inman was 3-4 with an RBI, but no other Mountaineer had more than one hit.
WVU now pulls up stakes from Morehead and moves on for a three-game weekend series against William & Mary in Williamsburg, Va. The Mountaineers’ normal weekend rotation of Alek Manoah, Jackson Wolf and Kade Strowd is expected to take the mound for West Virginia.