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Blaine Traxel Dominates, Five-Run Fifth Powers WVU Baseball to 7-2 Win Over Minnesota



West Virginia baseball won their third game in a row Saturday, defeating the Minnesota Golden Gophers 7-2.

A five-run fifth inning where all nine Mountaineers went to the plate was the difference in the game. Fifth-year starter Blaine Traxel continued his streak of pitching deep into games, going eight innings on 115 pitches. Traxel struck out eight and allowed one base runner per inning. 

West Virginia center fielder Braden Barry hit a two-out single in the third inning, then stole second. Second baseman JJ Wetherholt singled him home to give the Mountaineers a 1-0 lead.

Shortstop Tevin Tucker walked in the fifth, coming around to score with some nifty base running. He stole second, baiting a throw from Minnesota catcher Weber Neels. Neels’ throw bounced into the outfield, giving Tucker time to dash home. Barry and Wetherholt singled and walked, respectively, moving into scoring position with a double steal. 

A wild pitch by Minnesota right-hander Joe Hauser scored Barry: catcher Dayne Leonard singled Wetherholt home. After a walk by Caleb McNeely, first baseman Sam White doubled two runners home to open a 6-0 lead.

The Golden Gophers made it 6-2 in the sixth with an RBI single and a sacrifice fly, the lone runs charged to Traxel on the day.

McNeely cracked a leadoff homer to left in the seventh to go up 7-2.

6-foot-7 true freshman Carson Estridge entered to pitch the ninth, his first appearance in a Mountaineers uniform. After the leadoff batter reached on an error, Estridge induced a double play and a groundout to finish the game on just seven pitches. 

West Virginia (9-4) will play for the sweep at 12pm EDT Sunday, with Grant Siegel set to start. 

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