Not to be outdone by Jackson Wolf’s seven-inning, eight strikeout performance Friday evening, right-hander Ryan Bergert struck out 14 of the 27 batters he faced Saturday afternoon as West Virginia defeated Saint Joseph’s 5-1.
In his second start of the young season, Bergert went eight full inning, allowing just one run on two hits and a walk. The 14 strikeouts set a new career-high for the sophomore. Bergert did not allow a base hit until a single in the fifth inning. The lone Hawk run came in the seventh on a solo home run.
While Bergert was dealing on the mound, WVU’s offense struggled to support him early on. Catcher Paul McIntosh hit a lead-off home run in the second inning which was the team’s only hit for a while.
The fourth inning started out promising for West Virginia. Second baseman Tyler Doanes led off the inning with a triple and was quickly scored on a double by first baseman Matt McCormick. The next two batters struck out however and designated hitter Ryan Archibald harmlessly ground out to end the inning.
After the seventh inning, WVU was only leading 2-1 despite Bergert’s great performance. The bottom of the eighth looked like trouble for the Mountaineers. Bergert hit the leadoff batter, who was then sacrificed over to second base. With just one out and the tying run in scoring position, Bergert struck out the next two batters he faced to escape the jam and preserve the lead.
WVU scored three runs in the top of the ninth and Zach Ottinger pitched a clean bottom of the ninth to give WVU its fifth win of the season.
The Mountaineers stay in South Carolina for two more days, playing Illinois tomorrow and Coastal Carolina Monday.