It took 10 pitchers, but West Virginia was able to keep Marshall’s bats quiet Tuesday evening as WVU downed the Thundering Herd 4-1 at Mon County Ballpark.
It was the ninth loss in a row for Marshall (8-33, 4-24 C-USA) as they matched up against West Virginia (18-23, 7-14) for the third time this season. Marshall won the first meeting in Huntington 7-1 back in March but the Mountaineers rebounded to take both games in Morgantown, winning 9-3 in April and 4-1 on Tuesday.
The Mountaineers did the majority of their damage in the bottom of the second inning off of Marshall starter Raymond Pacella (1-7, 5.46 ERA). WVU began the inning with three straight singles, eventually pushing three runs across the plate thanks to RBIs from Nathan Blasick, Victor Scott and Austin Davis.
Freshman Carlson Reed (3-4, 6.39) started his second mid-week game in a row for West Virginia. Reed allowed just one run in three innings of work but narrowly escaped trouble in a busy top of the third. After a leadoff walk, Reed seemed to get out of trouble by inducing a double play but two walks and a single loaded the bases, all with two outs.
A wild pitch from Reed allowed a run to score. Reed walked the next batter to re-load the bases, his fourth free pass of the inning, prompting a mound visit from WVU coach Randy Mazey.
“When I went out there and talked to him I told him ‘this is your opportunity to show some maturity’,” Mazey said. “‘You just walked four guys in one inning, but I really need you to forget everything that just happened. When you put your toe on the rubber, I need you to focus on executing really, really good pitches to this next guy’. And he did that.”
Reed got ahead in the count against Marshall’s next hitter, Travis Sankovich, 0-2 and got out of the inning when Sankovich hit a ground ball to second base. Mazey said it was Reed’s best at-bat of the night.
WVU got that run right back in the bottom of the inning as catcher Paul McIntosh hit his team-leading seventh home run of the season, a solo shot to left field. It was McIntosh’s third home run in his last five games and he is hitting 7 for 19 in that stretch with six extra-base hits, continuing a red-hot second half of the season at the plate.
— WVU Baseball (@WVUBaseball) May 11, 2021
“Paul in the second half is so much different than Paul in the first half and he’s done it every year,” Mazey said. “Some guys just do that, it takes them a little while to get into the rhythm of the season.”
What followed was a parade of West Virginia relief pitchers as Mazey sent nine different players to the mound in the final six innings of Tuesday’s game. None of the nine relievers allowed a hit or a run but combined for seven walks as Marshall constantly remained in striking distance despite having only two hits in the game. After using three pitchers to get three outs in the eighth, Mazey was able to turn the ball over to Madison Jeffery for a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to nail down the win and pick up his third save of the season.
WVU will play the final games of its 11-game homestand this weekend, welcoming Miami (Ohio) to town for a three-game series beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday evening. Marshall will return home for its final conference series of the season against UAB.