Takeaways: Hofstra’s Bullpen Hangs On, Ends WVU Baseball’s Win Streak
West Virginia baseball saw their nine-game win streak snapped on Tuesday in a 4-2 loss to the Hofstra Pride. The Mountaineers loaded the bases in the ninth inning, bringing the winning run to the plate, but Hofstra’s bullpen was up to the task and the comeback fell short.
Hofstra’s Bullpen Shuts it Down
Hofstra starter Cade Henry left after the fifth inning with a 4-2 lead. The Pride’s bullpen was able to lock down West Virginia’s potent offense in his stead, allowing just one hit across the final four innings. The Mountaineers were still able to get on base, drawing five walks (two intentional ones to star second baseman JJ Wetherholt, who has an OPS of 1.309 on the season and has started getting the Barry Bonds treatment as a result) got hit by pitch, but the Pride kept the runners from going anywhere. West Virginia loaded the bases in the ninth inning, but Hofstra closer Michael O’Hanlon was able to punch out Dayne Leonard, who had a rare down day, to end the game.
The bullpen’s performance shouldn’t take away from Henry’s: after giving up two runs in the first inning, he rebounded for four shutout innings, giving his offense time to get their bearings.
West Virginia’s offense has done an excellent job of scoring in the late innings this season, whether it’s to plate insurance runs and secure a victory, to come back or take the lead. It simply wasn’t their night on Tuesday, as the Mountaineers managed just six hits and couldn’t plate any runs with the bases loaded in the ninth.
Missed chances were the story of the day. The Mountaineers barely missed out on a prime scoring opportunity with two outs in the fifth inning when left fielder Landon Wallace hit a ground rule double with designated hitter Sam White on first, the textbook definition of a bad bounce. Had the ball stayed in the ballpark, White probably could’ve come around to score, breaking a 2-2 tie: he got a great jump and took off on contact. Instead, they each took two automatic bases, preventing a run. Henry took advantage of the break, ending the inning unscathed.
Carlson Reed Shows Up
Hofstra’s relievers weren’t the only bullpen to star in the contest. Had the Mountaineers managed to come back, Carlson Reed’s performance would’ve been the storyline. The veteran flamethrower gave West Virginia’s offense a chance with 2.2 perfect innings, punching out five Hofstra batters, including two in the seventh inning to strand a runner on third.