Winners of just one of their last four games with two additional games postponed, the West Virginia Mountaineers looked to steal their way into the win column as they began a three-game series with the Youngstown State Penguins on Thursday. The normally fleet-footed Mountaineers, who have stolen 68 bases so far this season, only stole one base last night but it was a huge steal. Victor Scott, standing on third base, stole home, just like Jackie Robinson did in the 1955 World Series. Scott’s steal gave the Mountaineers a 5-4 lead and the eventual 6-4 victory.
The Mountaineers struck first in the game as freshman sparkplug JJ Wetherholt homered to give the Mountaineers a 1-0 lead. It is Wetherholt’s 3rd homerun of the season.
The Mountaineers continue to struggle to find a Friday night starter. Reed Carlson has been replaced with Michael Kilker, who had not given up a run in 7 innings before being placed as the starter last weekend. His first start, against Campbell last week, he struggled with command, walking three and allowing 2 earned runs in just two innings. Last night, he struggled with location as he allowed 3 hits and 3 earned runs in just 2 innings.
YSU would tack on another run to make it 4-1 in the third inning when a wild pitch got away from McGwire Holbrook and advanced the runners.
The Mountaineers would rally back as Grant Hussey lifted a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Austin Davis in the bottom of the third inning to make it 4-2.
The Mountaineers bullpen trio of Chris Sleeper, Zach Bravo and Trey Braithwaite shut down the Penguins going 7 innings with 1 run and 8 strikeouts. As they kept the Mountaineers in the ballgame, the Mazey-led squad fought and clawed it ways back.
In the fifth inning, a wild pitch scored Austin Davis for the second time to make it 4-3. Later in the inning, power hitting catcher McGwire Holbrook drew a bases load walk to push JJ Wetherholt across to tie the game at 4.
Then came the fireworks as Victor Scott walked to open the bottom of the 7th inning. His speed caused the pitcher to balk, pushing Scott to second. Holbrook lifted a flyball to center allowing Scott to tag up and race to third base. Then, in a flash, Scott was off to the races and tied the game on a steal of home as the catcher dropped the ball.
West Virginia would add an insurance run in the 8th inning on a sacrifice bunt to win the game 6-4.
- JJ Wetherholt went 2-3 and is still hitting .328/.430/.507 as a freshman.
- Victor Scott now has 16 stolen bases on the year. That ties him for 6th in the country.
- West Virginia scored 6 runs on just 5 hits, while stealing only 1 base. They struck out 10 times.