When a team racks up five errors over the course of a game, the outcome is likely not going to be pretty. When a team racks up, five in one inning, well… the West Virginia Black Bears were lucky that five eighth-inning errors only resulted in four runs.
WV was unable to overcome the disastrous inning and fell to the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, 7-1, Tuesday night after managing only one run on offense for the second consecutive game – both losses to MV to begin the season.
Trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth inning, WV batters stranded a pair of no-out singles from infielders Jesse Pierce and Jake Reinhardt. Shortstop Trey Romay grounded out to end the inning, and right-hander Jay Schueler entered the contest to pitch for WV.
A walk and subsequent steal for MV outfielder Mathieu Vallee opened the door and a pair of singles from MV’s Jason Hinchman and Ethan Kavanagh pushed the lead to 3-1. WV’s first home run of the season, courtesy of outfielder Cooper Swanson, dug into MV’s lead, but the disastrous eighth inning quelled any hopes of a comeback.
A single from MV’s AJ Henkle started the inning off, and a pair of MV batters reached base on back-to-back WV errors to load the bases. A third error following a Schueler strikeout allowed Hinchman to reach base and drive in all three MV base runners – Hinchman reached second on a fourth error.
Another MV batter reached base on an error and a wild pitch allowed the fourth MV run of the inning. Mercifully, Schueler’s third strikeout of the night ended the top of the inning. A 1-2-3 inning for MV pitcher Gabe Sheperd ended the eighth. Perhaps fittingly, WV ended the game with Christian Lucio caught in a rundown between second and third base after Swanson drew a two-out walk.
A tough night for WV saw the Black Bears in a competitive two-run contest entering the eighth inning, but five errors effectively ended any chance of picking up the first win of the season.
Lucio led WV with two hits while Swanson swatted the first homer of the season. Five players picked up hits in the contest, including Pierce, Reinhardt and outfielder Jason Thomas. Left-hander Mitch Bratt pitched three strong innings in his first start of the season, striking out six while allowing one run over three innings. Right-hander Ray Ray Douglas picked up the loss despite a solid effort in the ninth.
WV will be back in action away against the Frederick Keys Wednesday for the start of a two-game road series.