West Virginia Completes All-Around Domination in Doubleheader Sweep of UNCG
West Virginia baseball’s winning streak stretched to eight with a doubleheader sweep of the UNC Greensboro Spartans on Saturday, March 18. First baseman Grant Hussey hit a pair of home runs and the Mountaineers’ pitchers allowed just three runs across 18 innings.
The Mountaineers ran away with game one, downing the Spartans 28-2 behind a massive fourth inning and a strong start by ace Ben Hampton.
Hampton went five innings, punching out five and allowing one run.
Right fielder Caleb McNeely broke the ice with a one-run single. Designated hitter Sam White grounded out to score McNeely and make it 2-0 in the first.
Hampton stranded a one-out triple with a punch out and groundout in the second.
Center fielder Braden Barry led off the third with a 455-foot missile of a home run. White added another groundout RBI and third baseman Ellis Garcia reached on an error that made it 5-0.
The Mountaineers blew the game open with a 13 run fourth, aided by three Greensboro errors.
Shortstop Tevin Tucker batted in three, one on a single to begin the inning and two on an error later on. Dayne Leonard, McNeely and second baseman JJ Wetherholt added two runs apiece with singles of their own: McNeely also scored on a wild pitch. Hussey reached on an error that scored a run, and left fielder Landon Wallace scored two more with a double.
A double play ended the onslaught, but not before each spot in the lineup came to the plate twice. When the dust settled, West Virginia led 18-0.
The Spartans got one back in the bottom of the inning with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly.
Garcia began the fifth with a single, and Hussey made it 20-1 with an opposite field home run.
Two-way player Kevin Dowdell hit an RBI single with runners at the corners in the sixth, Garcia scored on another wild pitch and Hussey stretched the lead to 24-1 with another two-run single.
A series of young pitchers helped finish the game: Tommy Beam, Carson Estridge, Chris Sleeper and Will Watson each took one inning, allowing one run combined.
Dowdell and true freshman Nick Barone hit two-run homers in the seventh and eighth, respectively. Barone’s was the first of his collegiate career and made it 28-1.
The Spartans scraped across their final run with a ninth inning groundout.
West Virginia took the second game 4-1. Their bats slowed down a bit, but it didn’t matter as fifth year starter Blaine Traxel took the mound in the nightcap and turned in another phenomenal start, punching out six in his 114-pitch complete game win.
Spartans starter Jay Miller turned in a quality start, going 6.1 innings and allowing three earned runs.
Both pitchers mowed through the opposing lineups with efficiency in a game that lasted just 2:01.
West Virginia took a 2-0 lead in the second with Hussey’s second home run of the day, this one to right field. Braden Barry reached on an error in the fifth, stealing second before Wetherholt singled him home to make it 3-0.
Traxel allowed a sixth-inning homer to Spartans’ two-way player Caleb Cozart, the lone run he allowed on the day.
Skylar King got on base with a seventh inning bunt, taking second on a balk before Tucker grounded out to put him 90 feet away. Barry hit a sacrifice fly to retake a three run lead, making it 4-1.
After allowing a leadoff single, Traxel picked Spartans’ junior GC Jarman off second base to escape the seventh.
He worked his way out of more trouble the next inning, allowing a pair of two out singles before forcing a Cozart groundout to head to the ninth.
Traxel capped his complete game victory with a pair of ninth in ninth strikeouts.
The doubleheader sweep moves West Virginia to 14-4 on the season. They’ll play to sweep the series at 1pm Sunday, with sophomore Grant Siegel set to pitch.