Mountaineers Win on Walk-off Single from Hudson
The West Virginia Mountaineers found a way to win over the Canisius Golden Griffins on a cold Tuesday afternoon 5-4. They struggled to get their bats going but power and speed prevailed in the one-point win.
West Virginia had opportunities to score in the first two innings leaving five men on base, three of which were in scoring position. They finally got on the board when Marcus Inman hit a solo homerun down the left field line to break the scoreless game.
In the top of the fourth, starting pitcher Nick Snyder got himself into a jam after giving up a hit to William Krull into right field and walking Jacob Victor. He then struck Cole Hollins before WVU head coach Randy Mazey made a trip to the mound to bring in Dillon Meadows.
Snyder on the day had 6 strikeouts, a walk and gave up four hits but no runs.
Meadows gave up a hit to left-center; however, Victor couldn’t beat the throw at second for the fielder’s choice and got Kyle Kush out swinging to end the inning.
West Virginia’s Tevin Tucker started off the bottom of the fourth inning drawing a walk. After Brandon White was hit by a pitch, Tyler Doanes laid a bunt down to move the runners to second and third. Darius Hill put the ball in play with a grounder to second scoring Tucker from third and the Mountaineers held a 2-0 advantage.
Meadows got West Virginia out of a jam in the fourth but found himself in one to start the fifth inning. He walked Mike Steffan, then Connor Morro and Mark McKenna doubled into right-centerfield scoring Steffan, but the relay to home from Darius Hill and Tyler Doanes was in time to tag Morro at the plate.
That brought in freshman Phillip Dull on the mound. He started his day striking out Stephen Bennett. He then walked back to back batters and Mazey again would go to his bullpen, calling upon another freshman, Gabe Kurtzhals. He ended the inning striking out Hollins.
Ivan Gonzalez gave the Mountaineers back their two-point lead with a solo shot over the left field wall for his first homerun of the season.
Canisius tied the game in the sixth on a couple of WVU errors. Noah Thompson grounded over to shortstop, but the throw by freshman Tevin Tucker pulled first baseman Marcus Inman off the bag and Thompson was safe.
Kurtzhals walked Kush setting a Steffan single in the gap between first and second scoring Thompson from second.
With two outs the Mountaineers had a chance to get out of the inning when Mark McKenna hit a hard ground ball to the pitcher that went off his glove keeping the inning alive. Bennet took advantage with a line drive single to centerfield bringing in Morro to tie the game at three.
West Virginia freshman Austin Davis singled through the left side and then, stole second and third, for the second time of the day, before Brandon White beautifully laid down a bunt, down the first base line scoring Davis and the Mountaineers were holding on to a one-point lead heading into the ninth.
Mazey turned to his veteran Sam Kessler to finish the game. Bennet led-off the inning with a triple to right center and tied the game crossing home plate on a wild pitch.
The Mountaineers were at the heart of their lineup heading into the bottom of the ninth. Golden Griffin pitcher Jarod Burmaster walked Marcus Inman with one out. McIntosh singled in the gap on the right side. Mazey put in TJ Lake to pinch run for Inman.
Gonzalez was about 15 feet from ending the game with a three-run shot over the left field wall, but Tristan Hudson won the game with a ground ball into right field and TJ Lake was already around third before the throw was made, as the Mountaineers win in walk-off fashion 5-4.
“They had 11 hits when we had three. We did that this weekend too. We didn’t start the game as near as good as we finished it. But the encouraging part of this game was our bats got better when the game was on the line and that’s the sign of a winning team. When it really counts the at-bats get good.” Said Randy Mazey after the game.
Mazey likes what he sees from his starting pitching early in the season.
“It’s been pretty good. Last year our problem has been we couldn’t get quality starts. I think we’ve had four so far in four games. We’ve addressed that part of it. I kind of like what our starting pitchers are doing right now. Its early in the year and it’s a pretty cold day. Guys are on pitch counts and trying to protect guys. See what we can do in the bullpen and who can come out of the pen, but yeah, I’ve been pretty pleased with pitching so far.”
Mazey continued with his bullpen and bringing in three freshmen.
“We had some walks today out of the bullpen which is probably uncharacteristic of our guys, but it wasn’t easy, we had to send the relievers into the lounge during the game to keep them warm. So, when their time was called, we had to get them out. They were probably playing Fortnite, watching TV or something,” Mazey said jokingly, “but it’s not easy to sit around for a couple hours in this weather and get called on. Your body just kind of slows down. That not indicative of how we’re going to throw strikes, but it’s the mentality and the attitude that’s been pretty good out of the bullpen.”
The Mountaineers had X steals in the game and Austin Davis had four stealing second and third twice.
“On a cold day when you think the team is going to be slow responding, one way to get them out of a funk is to start running.” Said Mazey. “You can stay warm when you’re running a lot more when you’re sitting. Tyler Doanes gets a walk and steals second on the first pitch. Tevin Tucker gets a base. (Austin Davis) He really changed the game with his speed. We can win games in multiple ways and speed is definitely one of them.”
The Mountaineers head back to Georgia this weekend to take on Georgia Southern in a three-game series.
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