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Takeaways: Tevin Tucker, Robby Porco Fuel West Virginia’s Outburst Against Minnesota



West Virginia baseball took their second straight home game on Friday, moving to 8-4 on the season with a 15-7 win over Minnesota. The Mountaineers came back from an early deficit with opportunistic hits—especially from the bottom of the lineup—and a shutdown performance from their bullpen.

Tevin Tucker Turns it Up

The redshirt senior shortstop reached base in all five plate appearances yesterday, logging two RBI. Tucker boosted his average to .314 on the season, third-best on the team among qualifying Mountaineers. The speedy infielder showcased his burst with two bunt singles and a triple, adding another single and a walk. Tucker did all this from the nine spot, getting on base and turning the lineup around so that West Virginia’s heavy lifters could do some damage.

He’s done it all season, but Friday’s game was a breakout performance of sorts. Having a .958 OPS from the bottom of their lineup is a testament to the Mountaineers’ hitting depth.

Two-Out Hits

Two of Tuckers’ hits keyed two-out rallies, a major difference in the game. After the Mountaineers trailed by four runs early, they needed to dig in and make every plate appearance count. West Virginia scored nine runs in two-out situations across the middle innings, keeping themselves alive with clutch hits—and lucky breaks, like second baseman JJ Wetherholt’s little league home run aided by a pair of Minnesota errors.

The team could’ve folded after the early deficit, especially as they burned through outs to spare. Instead they stayed collected and played their game, and it paid off.

Porco’s Piggyback

Starting pitcher Ben Hampton had a rough day at the office, allowing five runs and 13 base runners across four innings. He exited ahead of the fifth inning with the score tied: it was anyone’s game, a question of which bullpen would blink first. 

True freshman Robby Porco piggybacked off of Hampton’s start, striking out five in four innings. More importantly, he gave up just one run, an unearned score in the eighth with the game already decided, slamming the door shut on a game that looked like it was turning into a track meet. 

The Mountaineers have struggled this season when other teams have chased their starters from the game early. Porco steadied his team and made sure that didn’t happen.

Head coach Randy Mazey said before the season that he has seven or eight pitchers who could conceivably earn a rotation spot. Porco has started games and made relief appearances—whether for an inning or for the long haul. 

He’s struggled at times, but that’s to be expected from a young pitcher. It’ll be exciting to watch him develop as the season goes on, and his versatility to do whatever Mazey asks him to ensures that he’ll be in the mix no matter what the Mountaineers do.

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