While starting pitching has been the strength of West Virginia so far this season, the Mountaineers ran into a buzzsaw Saturday afternoon in Mercer’s Jackson Kelley.
Kelley (3-0) pitched 8.2 innings to help Mercer (12-2) defeat WVU (9-5) 3-1.
Sophomore Ryan Bergert (2-1) was on the hill for the Mountaineers and started shakier that he had been Saturday. The Bears scored in both the first and second innings off Berger.
In the first Bergert gave up a leadoff double, two walks and a hit-by-pitch that drove in the run. In the second it was a walk and another double that gave Mercer a 2-0 lead.
WVU got one back in the top of the third, however. Center fielder Victor Scott leadoff with a single and eventually advanced to third on an errant pickoff attempt by Kelley. He was eventually driven in on a groundout by left fielder Braden Zarbnisky.
That was all the offense WVU could come up with Saturday however. The Mountaineers collected seven hits, but they were al singles and Kelley was able to stay out of any danger.
Bergert came out after the fifth inning having given up two runs on four hits and four walks. He struck out six. Jacob Watters pitched 2.2 innings in relief, allowing one more run in the seventh. Beau Lowrey got the final out in the eighth for WVU.
First baseman Matt McCormick hit a two-out single in the ninth, his third hit of the day, but the next batter would fly out to end the game.
The rubber match between West Virginia and Mercer will be Sunday at 1 p.m. The pitching matchup will be Jake Carr (2-1) for WVU vs Taylor Lobus (1-0) for Mercer.