West Virginia baseball will start the season at 3-0 after winning all three games in their opening season weekend in South Carolina. The Mountaineers faced off against preseason #16 Central Michigan on Friday night and used a six-run third inning to cruise to victory 13-8.
The Mountaineers got major contributions from senior leadoff hitter Austin Davis, who went 3-5, scored three runs, drove in two and doubled. Behind him in the two-hole was freshman second basemen JJ Wetherholt, who started off his collegiate career with a bang, blasting a homerun in the first inning. He finished the day 3-5 with two runs scored and four RBIs. Junior outfielder Victor Scott kept things going with a 2-3 day, scoring twice and stealing two bases. The top of the Mountaineers order did its job, causing havoc all game. The Mountaineers also got a grand slam from first basemen Grant Hussey, his first collegiate hit.
The Mountaineers opening day starter, Carlson Reed only lasted 2.2 innings, striking out four before he was lifted for a bullpen by committee approach. Ten different Mountaineer pitchers saw action with nine of them recording at least one out. Overall the pitchers gave up 12 hits and 9 walks but struck out 11 batters.
Continuing a trend from last season, the Mountaineers again committed multiple errors. Last season, the bad fielding ultimately doomed West Virginia.
Saturday afternoon the Mountaineers kept the good time train rolling as they beat Kent State 8-3. Once again the Mountaineers got big contributions from the top of the lineup. Austin Davis went 3-5 and his first homerun on the season, JJ Wetherholt went 2-4 and his first stolen base, Victor Scott went 2-4 with 3 RBI and his first homerun and Grant Hussey went 2-5 with another homerun.
This time the Mountaineers used a six-run sixth inning to beat Kent State. Starter Ben Hampton (Sophomore) went 5 innings in his season debut, striking out ten while allowing only two walks. The Mountaineers fielding was better this game, committing only one error.
In the Sunday game against Central Michigan, West Virginia proved Friday’s win was no flash in the pan, dominating the Chippewas 10-0. JJ Wetherholt continued his hot start going 2-4 with two RBIs and a run scored, while stealing another base. First basemen Grant Hussey continued to mash going 2-4 with a run scored. McGwire Holbrook joined in on the hit parade going 2-3 for his first hits on the young season.
Chris Sleeper started on Sunday and pitched another dominant game for the Mountaineers, going five innings with 5 strikeouts and only one walk. He gave up two hits on the day. Michael Kilker, Trent Hodgon and Aidan Major finished off the day going four innings with only two hits and striking out 6 of the 12 batters they faced.
The fielding improved as the Mountaineers did not commit an error.
The Mountaineers will face Coastal Carolina on Monday to end their weekend tournament.