Situational Hitting, Errors Sink Mountaineers Against Georgia Southern
West Virginia fell to 0-2 on Saturday, losing 6-2 to the Georgia Southern Eagles. Once again the Mountaineers’ starting pitching ran into trouble and the bullpen couldn’t back them up. Poor situational hitting and defense exacerbated the situation.
The Mountaineers left 22 runners on base through the first two games, 14 of whom were in scoring position. A timely hit here or there, and it’s an entirely different series. West Virginia has had the lead for a decent chunk of their first two games, but they haven’t been able to put Georgia Southern away, letting them hang around long enough to start a comeback.
The Mountaineers sent the go-ahead run to the plate in the ninth inning of game one; they sent the tying run to the plate in the ninth inning of game two. They came up empty handed both times. A healthy dose of clutch hitting could flip the script.
The five errors West Virginia committed across the first two games didn’t help either, allowing three of Georgia Southern’s ten runs this season. Even if an error doesn’t contribute to a scoring play, it still comes with a hidden cost. Extra runners on the basepaths—runners that should’ve been outs, no less—drove up pitch counts, allowing the Eagles to get into an already-depleted bullpen faster and ramp up the pressure.
It’s hard to beat a good team on the road. It’s even harder to beat a good team on the road while shooting yourself in the foot.
The House isn’t on Fire Yet
Georgia Southern made the NCAA Tournament in 2022, hosting a regional, and many of the polls had them ranked heading into the postseason. They’re a good team, and saw most of last season’s core return: this isn’t the typical opening weekend against a no-name school.
While losing their first two games is far from an ideal start, and you’d like to see the Mountaineers rise to the occasion against the cream of the crop, the sky hasn’t fallen.
If the issues that have plagued West Virginia in these first two games continue, however, the season could end up nowhere fast.