WVU Holds on to Take the Opener Over Miami (OH) after a Wild Eighth Inning

West Virginia takes game one of a two-game series of the Miami (OH) RedHawks 7-6
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The West Virginia Mountaineers seized an early two-run advantage and maintained through seven until the Miami (OH) University RedHawks scored three runs in the eighth to claim their first lead of the game. However, the Mountaineers responded in the bottom of the inning with three runs of their own to retake the two-run lead, and despite the RedHawks getting the tying run at third with one out, the Mountaineers hold on 7-6 to take game one of a two-game series of the RedHawks.

Leadoff hitter Austin Davis hit a hard low line drive that third baseman Billy Kopicki knocked down but was unable to get the throw over to first in time, setting up a two-run blast from Matt McCormick to give the Mountaineers a 2-0 advantage in the bottom of the first.

After a 1-2-3 inning to begin the game, West Virginia starting pitcher Jackson Wolf got into a little trouble in the second when Miami hitters Cole Andrews and Stephen Krause started the inning with consecutive singles. Wolf struck out two before Tyler Wardwell singled up the middle to load the bases, but Wolf froze JJ Woolwine for strike three to end the inning unscathed.

Miami got on the board in the third when Benji Brokemond led off the inning with a triple down the right field line, then Jacob Hensor hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Brokemond.

West Virginia answered in the bottom of the inning after McCormick drove a one-out double just over the outreached glove of centerfielder Benji Brokemond before Paul McIntosh hit a high chopper to third, but the throw was in the dirt, and first baseman Jacob Hensor was unable to pick the ball out of the dirt and bounced out of play as McCormick scored to push the Mountaineers lead back up to two, 3-1.

Matt McCormick celebrating with teammate Austin Davis after smacking a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning.

Nathan Blasick blasted a leadoff home run in the fourth, extending the Mountaineers lead to three.

Miami got the run back in the top of the fifth when Woolwine doubled down the left field line. Then, a grounder to short got Woolwine in a pickle but was able to advance to third successfully, and Brokemond took second on the fielder’s choice setting up a sacrifice fly from Will Vogelgesang to get the RedHawks back within two.

Wolf went 6.2 innings with seven strikeouts before head coach Randy Mazey called out to the bullpen for Zach Ottinger, who got out of the inning.

In the eighth, Hensor hit a leadoff single ahead of Ottinger, striking out two. However, he beaned one batter and walked another to load the bases before Mazey went back to his bullpen, calling upon Skylar Gonzalez. Then, on the 1-2 pitch, Tyler Wardwell hit a high shallow fly ball into centerfield that just got over the head of shortstop William Bean, scoring two, and a passed ball on the throw to third scored another as the RedHawks put up three runs to take the 5-4 lead.

West Virginia responded in the bottom of the inning. Mazey put in veteran Tyler Doanes to pinch hit for William Bean with two outs, and he drove a base hit that deflected off reliever Kevin Napoleon. Vincent Ippoliti, who pinch-hit for Ben Abernathy, drew a walk. Austin Davis ripped a single into left field, scoring Doanes, and McCormick smacked a single back up the middle to score Davis and pinch-runner Braden Barry as the Mountaineers scored three in the eighth to go back up two, 7-5.

Madison Jeffrey took the mound in the ninth. He walked Brokemond to begin the inning before Vogelgesang grounded down the left field line and Brokemond scored after McIntosh fumbled the ball out of his glove to get the RedHawks within a run. A sacrifice bunt from Hensor moved Vogelgesang over to third and got the first out of the inning, Jeffrey struck out Cole Andrews, and Krause hit a pop up in the infield, and Hudson Byorick corralled it for the final out as West Virginia holds on 7-6.

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