Takeaways: Robby Porco Pushes WVU Baseball to 12-3 Win
WVU Baseball got back to their winning ways Sunday, avoiding a sweep at the hands of the Kansas Jayhawks with a 12-3 win. True freshman starter Robby Porco earned Big 12 Pitcher of the Week honors in his first home start, and a lineup shuffle sparked the Mountaineers’ offense in a big way.
Robby Porco Steps Up
Porco shoved on Sunday, allowing one earned run and three hits across six innings. He struck out 12 batters, avoiding the potential for batted ball events on a day where the Mountaineers committed four errors. A pair of errors put runners at the corners to start the game. The young pitcher didn’t get rattled after a single scored a run: instead, he managed to limit the damage, preventing the Jayhawks from piling on and putting the Mountaineers in a hole early.
Porco said all three of his pitches were working on Sunday: a mid-90s fastball, a low 80s changeup that he worked in the bottom of the zone for strikeouts, and his sweeping slider. That statement confirmed what was obvious on the field.
Head coach Randy Mazey moved left fielder Landon Wallace up to the No. 2 spot in the lineup. The move paid off, as Wallace hit a pair of opposite field home runs in the game, going 2-for-4 with three RBI on the day. West Virginia’s lineup is extremely flexible: the vast majority of their players are fast and, while they have power, aren’t going to lead the NCAA in home runs anytime soon.
Rather than the prototypical lineup putting speedy players with high on base percentages up top and sluggers in the middle of the order, the Mountaineers trend toward the former. That makes it so Mazey can ride the hot hand with ease, allowing him to ride the hot hand when a batter sees the ball well.
Whether it’s Caleb McNeely hitting for the cycle, Wallace’s performance on Sunday or Grant Hussey exploding for a recent hot streak, WVU baseball is getting excellent performances from the supporting cast. Hussey has four home runs in the last seven games. He’s hitting nearly .500 in that time, boosting his average from the low .200s to .293.
Mazey spoke to Hussey’s maturity as a hitter on Friday and, while hot streaks don’t last forever, having that kind of pop in the bottom of the lineup makes an already-dangerous offense even more potent.
Opposing teams are avoiding star second baseman JJ Wetherholt like the plague right now. His ability to use the entire plate ensures he won’t get frozen out entirely, but the rest of the lineup clicking makes it difficult to pitch around him.