Takeaways: Solo Homers Not Enough as Bullpen Fails West Virginia Baseball
The West Virginia Mountaineers dropped the series finale of their Virginia road trip on Sunday, falling to the Richmond Spiders 7-3. After two games where they did all the right things, West Virginia’s fortunes changed in the last game of the weekend.
All three of West Virginia’s runs came via the long ball.
They also happened with nobody on. The Spiders, on the other hand, managed to sustain rallies, putting up a five-run sixth inning in which they managed four hits with runners on base.
Caleb McNeely hit his second home run of the day in the seventh inning in an attempt to start a comeback, but Richmond held the Mountaineers scoreless from there.
Richmond’s ability to maintain sustained offensive pressure sank the Mountaineers. West Virginia only had two less hits than the Spiders, but they came at less opportune times.
Third baseman Ellis Garcia hit a leadoff double in the fifth inning. After a flyout, an infield single to third prevented him from advancing, and a double play ended the inning.
Second baseman JJ Wetherholt got thrown out at home attempting to score from first on a double. It was just that kind of day for the Mountaineers.
Playing with Fire = Getting Burned
In many ways, this game was a change of course from the last two. Everything fell into place in the Saturday doubleheader. West Virginia got the right hits at the right times and their pitching was able to lock it down when needed.
When the pitching needed help, the offense was ready to pick up the slack and vice versa.
The Mountaineers came back from a 4-0 deficit against VCU with a pair of three run rallies. A ninth-inning homer by Wetherholt gave them needed insurance.
Dayne Leonard silenced a late Canisius push with an eighth inning go-ahead RBI.
This time it was Richmond’s turn to deliver the knockout punch with their sixth inning explosion, and the Mountaineers couldn’t regroup in time.
They loaded the bases in the ninth, putting the tying run at the plate, but couldn’t scrape any runs across.
Siegel Gets the Quick Hook
Sophomore Grant Siegel went four innings on roughly 70 pitches. He punched out three, allowing five hits and one hit by pitch, strong enough for the third starter. It seemed a little early to pull Siegel, who was in the middle of one of his best starts so far: a good chance to give the young pitcher some confidence.
A lot goes into these situations: Siegel was still throwing strikes, but head coach Randy Mazey could’ve seen something else that prompted the decision.
The success of the Spiders against West Virginia’s bullpen played a major role in the game, and their ability to chase Siegel early set that up.