On a chilly Saturday morning at Monongalia County Ballpark, the Mountaineers (7-5) got their series against Kent State (4-8) off a hot start with a 6-2 victory.
Alek Manoah (2-1, 2.86 ERA) was dominant in this game, furthering his case as a top MLB prospect and Golden Spikes Award recipient. Manoah worked into the 8th inning, recording 7.2 innings with just 5 hits, 1 walk and 2 runs surrendered, all while striking out 12 KSU batters. In 22.0 innings this season, Manoah has struck out a staggering 36 batters. After his disappointing outing against the Oregon State Beavers last Friday, you knew he was going to come out firing today, and the Golden Flashes got the brunt end of a fantastic start by Manoah.
This game was a pitchers duel for the first 5 innings, as Manoah and Wollersheim had blanked their respective opposing lineups. However, in the bottom of the 6th, WVU was finally able to touch Wollersheim for 2 runs and knock him out of the game. Senior right fielder Darius Hill hit a sharp groundball that just got by 1B Alex Ronnebaum and went all the way to the corner, allowing Hill to get a triple and bring home Ivan Gonzalez and Tyler Doanes for a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the 7th, the Mountaineers got left fielder Paul McIntosh to 3rd after he hit a leadoff double off KSU reliever Zach Schultz. Tyler Doanes then hit a bouncing ball to the SS Grant Vera which he couldn’t handle and allowed McIntosh to score from 3rd. The scorekeeper gave Vera an error on the play and thus took an RBI away from Doanes, but there was general agreement that it should’ve been scored a hit, so I’ve awarded the RBI to Doanes anyway.
Manoah, who had struck out the side in back-to-back innings, began to wear down in the top of the 8th. Designated hitter Patrick Ferguson, a former WVU Baseball commit, hit a solo home run to deep right field to lead off the inning, followed later in the inning by a sacrifice fly to left field by Kian O’Brien that narrowed the Mountaineer lead to 3-2.
The Mountaineers were able to add 3 insurance runs in the bottom of the inning as Paul McIntosh and Brandon White each delivered RBI singles with the help of some poor defensive plays by the Golden Flashes, who finished with 4 errors on the game. This put WVU up 6-2, where the lead would remain for the Mountaineer victory.
The second game of the doubleheader will get underway at 2PM at Monongalia County Ballpark. WVU will put Jackson Wolf on the mound for the afternoon game, as he’ll look to win his 3rd game of the young season. You can watch the game live here.
Let’s go, Mountaineers!