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No. 24 West Virginia Wins 5-4 as JJ Wetherholt Walks Off Xavier



No. 24 West Virginia won via walkoff for the second game in a row, defeating the Xavier Musketeers 5-4 Friday. 

Starting pitcher Ben Hampton turned in a quality start, striking out seven in seven innings and allowing three runs.

Third baseman Sam White drew a one-out walk in the second. Left fielder Landon Wallace singled, and designated hitter Kevin Dowdell hit another to open a 1-0 lead. 

Xavier second baseman Jared Cushing led off the third with a home run to tie the game. 

Mountaineers second baseman JJ Wetherholt hit a single to begin the home half of the inning, then took second via a throwing error on a pickoff attempt by Musketeers starter Ethan Bosacker. A sacrifice bunt moved him to third with just one out, but Bosacker worked a strikeout and popout to preserve the tie. 

Bosacker wasn’t so lucky in the fourth inning. White led off the inning with another walk, and Wallace hit a home run to nearly the same spot as Cushing to make it 3-1. 

The Musketeers returned the favor in the sixth inning. Hampton allowed a leadoff walk, and first baseman Matt McCormick drilled a home run to right to tie the game 3-3.

Dowdell hit a double to begin the seventh, and shortstop Tevin Tucker bunted his way on to end Bosacker’s day. Center fielder Braden Barry dropped down a bunt on a safety squeeze to put the Mountaineers up 4-3. Xavier third baseman Grant Stephenson ended the rally with a magnificent diving catch that saved a run. 

Junior Carlson Reed allowed a one-out single in the eighth. A potential double play ball skipped past his glove, and another single made it 4-4. A walk loaded the bases, but Wetherholt captained a 4-3 double play to end the inning. 

Ellis Garcia roped a pinch-hit single to center to begin the ninth. He took second on a wild pitch, and reliever Justin Loer walked Tucker to bring up Wetherholt. Wetherholt wasted no time, doubling the first pitch he saw up the middle to win the game 5-4.

West Virginia moves to 17-5 on the season. The Mountaineers will play to win the series at 4pm Saturday, with fifth-year starter Blaine Traxel taking the mound.

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