Through the first seven games of the season, it has been a bit of a roller coaster for West Virginia. Today, that ride continued as the Mountaineers trailed Bryant 5-1 after five innings of play before muscling their way to victory via the long ball.
Sophomore left-hander Jake Carr had yet another rough outing as he allowed four runs on six hits in 4.2 innings pitched. In just two starts this season, Carr has been tagged with 14 earned runs in just 5.1 innings of work, making his ERA 23.63.
Liam McGill kicked off the home run derby by crushing a two-run home run down the left-field line in the bottom of the first inning. West Virginia plated their first run in the top of the 2nd as fifth-year senior third baseman Kevin Brophy slapped one over the left-field wall for a solo homer, his first of the day.
Despite Carr's struggles on the mound, the Mountaineers really put themselves in a tough spot by committing six errors on the day. One or two in a game can be detrimental to the outcome of a game, so for them to commit six of them and still win is almost a miracle. One of those errors allowed a run to score when freshman shortstop Mikey Kluska was charged with a throwing error over to first base.
The power surge continued for the Bulldogs in the fifth as McGill hit his second homer of the day which was followed up by a solo homer by James Ciliento. The Mountaineers got those two runs back pretty quickly thanks to back-to-back jacks from catcher Vince Ippoliti and centerfielder Victor Scott.
Heading into the 8th, West Virginia trailed 6-3 and was down to their final six outs. Brophy sent his second home run of the day to right-center to draw the Mountaineers within two. Then, freshman Mikey Kluska notched his first career homer to cut the deficit to just one. In the bottom of the 8th, WVU reliever Jacob Watters sent one to the backstop, which handed a run right back to Bryant.
In the top half of the 9th, Brophy collected another RBI with a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Scott. Down to its final out, West Virginia needed a clutch at-bat from Nathan Blasick, and boy, did he deliver. Blasick hit a three-run bomb to right-center to give West Virginia a 9-7 lead.
Skylar Gonzalez held the Bulldogs in check in the bottom of the inning to pick up the save and lock up the win for the Mountaineers.
West Virginia will be back in action on Friday as they host Kent State at 3 p.m., which will be the team's home opener at Mon. Co. Ballpark.
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