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Black Bears Unable to Pick Up First Win in 5-5 Tie With Frederick

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West Virginia second baseman Eli Hamill. Logan Adams/WVSN

Other than a rocky fifth inning for the West Virginia Black Bears, WV pitchers held the Frederick Keys to just four hits and no runs. Yet, WV was still unable to pick up their first win of the young season. With the score at 5-5 after nine innings, under the MLB Draft League rules for this season, the game ended in a tie.

Catcher Ranko Stevanovich set WV off to a fast start, blasting a first-inning home run off Keys pitcher Peyton Zapel. WV starter Joshua South pitched four innings of two-hit baseball before giving way to reliever Lake Fisher in the fifth inning. Fisher only allowed two hits, but his five walks got him into some trouble.

Frederick’s Nick Hernandez smacked a solo shot off Fisher to open the sixth inning, and teammate Anthony Herron Jr. followed him up with the first walk of the inning. Frederick’s Lucas Torres Vazquez and Kameron Wells both drew walks and teammate Dominique Collie slapped a double to score both Herron and Vazquez.

With a 3-1 deficit, WV pitcher Kobe Robinson replaced Fisher, but the sixth inning barrage did not stop there. Frederick’s Hector G. Nieves singled to drive in another run, and a flyout drove in one more to make it a fun-run inning for Frederick.

Down 5-1 entering the eighth inning, WV’s offense came alive for the first time this season. WV infielder Kaeden Rog started the inning off with a single and Christian Lucio followed with a single of his own. Jeron Williams reached base on a Frederick error, scoring a run in the process. Eli Hammill slapped a triple to score both Williams and Lucio. Still, trailing 5-4 entering the ninth inning, WV needed someone to step up.

A single from WV outfielder Jason Thomas started the party and he eventually came around to score, tying the contest at five. A 1-2-3 inning from WV right-handed pitcher Michael Hobbs secured the tie for the Black Bears, and the two teams drew one of the first ties of the season.

Despite the tie, WV played its best game of the young season Thursday night, salvaging a series that saw game one end in a rain cancellation Wednesday night. WV will be back in action back home Friday night against the Williamsport Housecutters. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 P.M. at the Monongalia County Ballpark.

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