West Virginia Blanks Jacksonville in Season-Opener

Christopher Hall

Jacksonville, FL –Braden Zarbnisky’s (2-5, 2 RBI) two-out two-RBI single in the seventh lifts the West Virginia Mountaineers (1-0) in a season-opening 3-0 win over the Jacksonville Dolphins (0-1) Friday night.

West Virginia starting pitcher Jackson Wolfe threw seven scoreless innings allowing only one hit on the evening as Zach Ottinger and Braden Zarbnisky combined for the final two to complete the shutout.

After missing last season because of an injury, leadoff hitter Braden Zarbnisky started his season campaign with a base hit, then stole second before advancing to third on a wild pitch to put pressure on Jacksonville starting pitcher Trent Palmer but got out of the inning striking out two.

The Mountaineers threatened to put runs on the board in the fifth after Victor Scott hit a high fly ball down the left field line that gave left fielder Langston Provitt trouble, overrunning the ball as Scott reached second on the error.

Austin Davis moved Scott over to third on a sacrifice bunt, then Austin Davis was able to reach first on a bunt as the Dolphins held the runner at third. Davis stole second to give the Mountaineers runners on second and third but a high chopper by Zarbnisky back to the pitcher was able to catch Victor at third and then Palmer was able to get out of the inning striking out Tyler Doanes.

Jacksonville head coach Chris Hayes handed the ball over to Mike Cassala in the sixth and he would go an inning and two thirds but not before the Mountaineers would end the scoreless game in the seventh.

West Virginia’s Kevin Brophy smacked a single into right-center and Cassala hit Scott to put two on and no outs. Davis advanced the runners laying a sacrifice bunt but was able to get Doanes out swinging. However, Hayes went to his bullpen for Nick Love and Zarbnisky slapped a two-RBI single down the left field line to give the Mountaineers a 2-0 lead.

Love’s night ended in the eighth after Paul McIntosh hit a leadoff double brought in Tyler Naumann from the pen, but it wouldn’t keep the Mountaineers from tacking on another run as Naumann walked Ryan Archibald and Brophy loaded the bases with a bunt. Then, Scott hit a fly ball to center that scored Mcintosh from third.

West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey brought in Zach Ottinger in the eighth, then Zarbnisky in the ninth with one out to complete the shutout and hold on to win 3-0.

The Mountaineers will face Jacksonville in game two of the three-game series Saturday with the first pitch set for 2:00 pm. 

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John Pentol
John Pentol


Solid pitching