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Takeaways: Clutch Hits Help WVU Baseball Reverse Fortune



Victor Scott II celebrates

West Virginia baseball won their first game of the season Sunday, blowing past the Georgia Southern Eagles to win 13-4.

This happened in large part because they managed to flip the script of the first two games, getting hits with runners on base to build an insurmountable lead and connecting on pitches they’d just missed in the previous games.

Winds of Change

Georgia Southern’s J.J. Clements Stadium faces northeast. In the first two games of the series, the wind was blowing from that direction, knocking nearly a dozen dangerous fly balls down at the warning track. In the Sunday matinee, the wind switched directions, blowing from south to north. Home run totals skyrocketed, with the teams combining for four after not hitting any in the first two games. 

West Virginia was able to take advantage of the trend, swinging for the fences with runners on base. A three-run bomb by junior Landon Wallace gave the Mountaineers the lead after an early 2-0 deficit. A second by Braden Barry in the fifth stretched the lead to 8-3 and put the game away.

Go For the Knockout

Just as important as the home runs themselves were the times that West Virginia managed to hit them. Wallace’s home run came directly on the heels of a first-inning Eagles homer, not allowing Georgia Southern any time to play with the lead. 

Early on, West Virginia’s lead felt shaky. The Eagles scored in the third inning to pull within a run, then loaded the bases in the fourth inning. 

Barry’s home run was just in time, then, opening a wider gulf for Georgia Southern to overcome after failing to put them away with runners on base earlier in the series.

This allowed the Mountaineers to play comfortable, putting on cruise control in the later innings.

Hit By Pitches

Something that stood out across the series was the 13 times Mountaineers’ batters got hit by a pitch. They didn’t crowd the plate, but still fell victim to some errant throws by Eagles hurlers. No one seemed worse for wear, but it’s something to look out for as the season goes on. Baseball is a game of attrition, and it’s not always the best team that makes a late-season run: sometimes it’s the healthiest.

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