MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia Mountaineers (11-5) continued their successful start to the season Wednesday afternoon, defeating the Liberty Flames (10-7) 7-0.
Starting on the mound for the Mountaineers was freshman Tyler Strechay (2-1). In his last outing, Strechay pitched five perfect innings to start WVU’s combined no-hitter against Kent State. The right-hander looked sharp again Wednesday, starting the game with perfect innings in the first and second.
While Strechay was dealing, WVU’s offense continually pushed Liberty starter Mason Hand (3-1). The Mountaineers had two runners in scoring position in the first innings on a hit and a walk but failed to drive either one in. In the second WVU loaded the bases against Hand with two walks and an error. With the bases loaded, center fielder Braden Zarbnisky, right fielder Austin Davis and second baseman Tyler Doanes all drove in a run, giving WVU a 3-0 lead.
The Flames tried to respond in the top of the third, loading the bases with two outs, but Strechay induced a harmless fly ball to center to end the threat. Strechay pitched scorless fourth and fifth innings and exited with two outs in the sixth after allowing a double. Strechay’s final line was 5.2 innings pitched, two hits, three strikeouts, four walks, no runs on 80 pitches. Fellow freshman Skylar Gonzalez replaced Strechay in the sixth, recording the final out.
In the bottom of the fifth, West Virginia loaded the bases again, this time with no outs on two hits and a walk. First baseman Matt McCormick swung at the first pitch he was with the bases loaded, lining it into left field and driving in two more WVU runs. A true freshman, McCormick is second on the team with 11 RBI.
West Virginia added x more runs in the bottom of the eighth when Zarbnisky drove McCormick in on a sacrifice fly to left field and Davis drove in pinch hitter Chris Klein with a double.
Dillon Meadows, Madison Jeffrey and Noah Short combined to pitch the three final innings for the Mountaineers, allowing just three baserunners and closing out the victory.
West Virginia will open Big 12 play over the weekend against No. 2 Texas Tech. The Mountaineers will travel to Lubbock, Texas for a three-game series against the Red Raiders.