The West Virginia Mountaineer baseball team wrapped up the three-day Coastal Carolina University Tournament with a comeback win over the Bryant University Bulldogs Sunday afternoon to end the weekend at 2-1. The Mountaineers trailed 5-1 after five innings and trailed by two going into the ninth before freshman Nathan Blasick hit a three-run home run, and the Mountaineers tacked on another for a four-run ninth inning to grab the 9-7 win.
“We always say when we get into that situation, just get the tying run to the plate,” said West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey. “As soon as you get the tying run to the plate, it changes the way other team pitches - they’re always worried about a homer, and we ended up getting a couple of guys on base because of it then got the big hit, but those guys at the bottom of the lineup (Mikey) Kluska, (Braden) Barry and (Ben) Abernathy those guys getting on base has really helped us this weekend.”
West Virginia was without several key players over the weekend. Most, notably Paul McIntosh, Hudson Byorick, and Tyler Doanes, although he came in as a pinch runner in the top of the ninth in the final game.
“We came down here without eight or ten guys on the team – had to stay back home.” Said West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey. So, had to count on some new guys to play really well down here, and they did. We got a lot of production out of guys that normally wouldn’t have been in the lineup… but this has been a typical early season for us. The games we played last weekend against Georgia State, the close games, and the extra innings, and the walk-off. Win, lose or draw those games, that experience helps you when you get into a game like this to feel like you can win it at the end.”
West Virginia had a limited roster, but it got the young guys experience and Mazey enjoyed the hand he was dealt.
“We didn’t have many moves we could make because we don’t have many guys on the bench, but that’s a lot of fun when guys that are in the lineup know that they’re in the lineup, and everybody knows their role when you’re limited to what the roles are,” he said before giving an example that came with two outs and two on in the top of the ninth and Blasick came to the plate. “Nathan knows he’s a late-inning pinch hitter against a pitcher like that, and he really came up big for us.”
The Mountaineers are still trying to get their legs under them and getting accustomed to playing on a baseball field after spending most of their offseason practicing at the football indoor practice facility and taking batting practice at the newly acquired batting cage facility at Monongalia County Ballpark. Nonetheless, the Mountaineers have not lost a series this season.
“We come on the road early on, you know we don’t get outside much, so we don’t play all that well early on - we had six more errors today, but that stuff cleans itself up later in the year,” said Mazey. “So, you don’t worry too much about that - you just want guys to learn how to compete and identify what their roles are and get the pitchers in the right spots. And all the things we’re doing right now helps us when we start conference play.”
West Virginia went 2-1 in the CCU tournament. The Mountaineers defeated Kennesaw State 13-3 Friday night. Then, dropped a 10-5 decision on Saturday before the 9-7 comeback win over Bryant on Sunday.
Senior Kevin Brophy hit three home runs, two on Sunday versus Bryant, to tie Matt McCormick for the team lead. McCormick hit his third on the season in the 13-3 win over Kennesaw State.
Starting pitcher Jackson Wolfe picked up his second win of the season in as many games.
West Virginia hit nine home runs over the weekend, putting their season total to 12, leading the Big 12 Conference.
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