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‘Eers Split Saturday Double-Header, Take Series From Charlotte

West Virginia won Game 1, Lost a heartbreaker in Game 2.

Geoff Coyle/WV Illustrated

Saturday’s doubleheader against the Charlotte 49ers proved that West Virginia baseball in 2022 is going to be a fun team to watch. West Virginia got a strong start from their Saturday starter Ben Hampton, who went 5.2 IP allowing only 1 run, 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out seven Charlotte batters.

West Virginia got a big day from right fielder Austin Davis, who went 2-5 in the first game while driving in four runs. Center fielder Victor Scott added two RBIs and the Mountaineers cruised in Game 1 to a 9-2 victory.

Charlotte right fielder Cam Fisher continues to be a terror at the plate, blasting his second homerun of the series in the fourth inning, giving him three homeruns on the young season.

After stealing nine bases on Friday night, the Mountaineers stole four bases in game one of the doubleheader. Victor Scott, Austin Davis and Tevin Tucker each swiped bags and each now has at least 4 stolen bases on the season - Scott leads the team with 5 in 6 tries.

Randy Mazey got 3.1 innings out of his bullpen from a trio of relievers - Chase Smith, Zach Ottinger and Tyler Strechay. The trio faced 13 batters and struck out 6 including Smith who came on in the 6th inning with one runner on and two outs and got a big strikeout of cleanup hitter Jake Cunningham.

In Game Two of the Saturday doubleheader, the Mountaineers tried to rally again in the ninth inning but would come up just short. Starter Chris Sleeper would give the Mountaineers 4 good innings but struggled with his command. Sleeper gave up 5 hits and 3 walks in four innings but kept the 49ers off the scoreboard, allowing just one run over that appear.

Charlotte would take the lead in the 6th inning as they scored 4 runs in the inning to take the lead. With two outs and the bases loaded, Charlotte got a single that ultimately proved to be the back breaker.

West Virginia refused to go away quietly as they clawed their way back, first with “Mazey” ball where speed and small ball tactics manufactured a run in the seventh inning without a single hit. Vince Ippoliti pinch hit and drew a 4-pitch walk. Ben Abernathy came in to pinch run. Mikey Kluska was hit by a pitch, putting two runners on. A wild pitch advanced each player 90 feet to second and third. Tevin Tucker grounded out as Ben Abernathy scored.

In the eighth inning, Victor Scott stole his 6th bases of the season and then scored on a McGwire Holbrook double. West Virginia would steal another 3 bases in Game 2, and now have 25 stolen bases on the season.

In the ninth, the Mountaineers would threaten, as Ben Abernathy walked and then stole second. Mikey Kluska would walk. Tevin Tucker grounded into a fielder’s choice, eliminating Abernathy at third base. Austin Davis would advance Kluska to third base on a sacrifice fly and Tevin Tucker would then get into scoring position by stealing second. Freshman JJ Wetherholt would end the game on a fly out to right field with two Mountaineers in scoring position.

West Virginia will be home on Tuesday, March 1st in their home opener against Canisius before they travel to Minneapolis, Minnesota for a Big Ten Showdown in a three-game fest at US Bank Stadium. Friday the Mountaineers will play Minnesota, Saturday they will play Illinois and Sunday they will play Michigan State.