MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (October 6, 2017) – The West Virginia University baseball team came back twice to beat Marshall, 7-6, in the fall opener on Friday night.
The Mountaineers rallied with two runs in the sixth inning to tie the game at 5-5 before tying the game again and driving in the eventual game-winning run with two outs in the eighth.
Back-to-back two-out walks started the eighth before junior Kyle Gray walked with the bases loaded to tie the game at 6-6. Freshman Connor Hamilton then singled home the eventual game-winning run in front of 550 fans at Monongalia County Ballpark.
“Number one, you want to teach your team how to win close games,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “That was a close game. We were behind late in the game and found a way to win. That’s a great lesson for the team and we actually won the game with a lot of new guys in the game, so I’m pretty encouraged by that.”
Gray led the team with two hits and four RBIs, driving in the game’s first run in the first inning and plating two in the sixth and one in the eighth. His sixth- and eighth-inning RBIs tied the score at 5-5 and 6-6, respectively. Junior Andrew Zitel added a hit and an RBI and scored two runs and walked twice.
On the mound, senior BJ Myers pitched the final 2.2 innings and earned the win. He struck out five and allowed no runs on one hit. Junior Christian Young got the start and pitched 3.0 innings, allowing a run on two hits with a pair of strikeouts.
West Virginia jumped ahead early with two runs in the first inning. Sophomore Brandon White led off the inning with a single and scored on Gray’s triple.
Marshall cut the lead to 2-1 with a run in the second, and WVU answered with a run in the fourth on Zitel’s RBI single.
However, the Thundering Herd responded with a three-run fifth inning to take a 4-3 lead. The visitor’s added a run in the sixth to extend the advantage to 5-3.
The Mountaineers made a habit of late-game comebacks last season, and Friday night proved to be no different, as WVU answered with two runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 5-5. Two one-out walks put two runners on, and Gray’s two-out single drove in two.
The Thundering Herd regained the lead at 6-5 in the seventh on a two-out single. After a one-two-three bottom of the seventh, WVU scored two in the eighth to take a 7-6 lead.
The rally began with two outs, when sophomore TJ Lake and freshman Tyler Doanes walked. Sophomore Isaiah Kearns loaded the bases on an infield single before Gray walked in the tying run. Hamilton followed with a single to score the eventual winning run.
Myers struck out three in the ninth to secure West Virginia’s first win of the fall.
The annual Alumni Game is tomorrow, which will begin at 11:30 a.m. Admission is free for all fans at Monongalia County Ballpark.