The biggest knock on the West Virginia Mountaineers (9-5) so far this season has been their inability to generate offense. That changed on Sunday afternoon as they played a back-and-forth game against the Kent State Golden Flashes (4-10) that ended with the Mountaineers taking a 9-7 win to complete the 3-game series sweep.
On a very windy day in Morgantown, the conditions certainly played a role in this one. With the three flags in center field blowing straight to the left for nearly the entire game, the left field side of Monongalia County Ballpark was playing like a Little League field for these college hitters. In total, there were 5 home runs hit today, and the 15-30 mph winds can be given credit for helping a few of them get out of the ballpark.
In the bottom of the 3rd inning, 2B Tyler Doanes hit a solo homer to left field that just barely cleared the wall and extended the WVU lead to 2-0. Kent State answered right back in the top of the 4th, however, as KSU RF Nick Elsen and 1B Pete Schuler each hit solo homers to left that tied the game up at 2 runs apiece. 1B Kevin Brophy got ahold of one and hit a three-run moonshot to right-center in the bottom of the 6th that gave WVU the lead back at 7-5, which it would never surrender. Finally, KSU got their final runs on a 2-run dinger to left field of the bat of Elsen again to bring the Golden Flashes back within 2.
Kade Strowd (1-1, 3.22 ERA), the reigning Big XII Pitcher of the Week, earned a no-decision today after throwing just 5.0+ innings, giving up 8 hits and 2 walks leading to 5 earned runs, and striking out 5.
The win went to freshman Ryan Bergert (1-0, 2.57 ERA) for his first collegiate win. Bergert had thrown 5.0 perfect innings to start his career at WVU, but surrendered 2 runs in 2.0 innings of relief today, but entered the ballgame at an opportune time and was credited with the win.
This win by the Mountaineers gives them their 4th in a row, and completed a series sweep for the first time in 2019. They’ll look to continue their hot streak as they travel to Morehead, Kentucky during spring break this week to play the Morehead State Eagles on Tuesday and Wednesday. Following that brief midweek series, WVU will head over to Williamsburg, Virginia to play William & Mary for a weekend series next Friday-Sunday. I’ll have series previews of both games 24 hours before their first pitch, so check back to The Smoking Musket for see who the Mountaineers will need to watch out for on the diamond!