West Virginia baseball opened its final weekend at the Monongalia County Ballpark with a nail-biting victory over Miami (OH), 7-6.
WVU nearly pulled off a wire-to-wire victory, but the RedHawks pulled off a rally in the eighth inning. The Mountaineers took it right back in the bottom of the inning, taking the win with a 2-run RBI single from Matt McCormick.
McCormick was the offensive star for West Virginia after a long season in the batter’s box, finishing 4-for-5 on the night with a home run and four RBIs. In fact, his home run came on the third pitch from Grant Hartwig. His first offering turned into a single from Austin Davis, who ended up scoring off McCormick’s homer.
Jackson Wolf kept the Mountaineers in front for the duration of his 6.2 innings of work, including a critical sequence in the second inning. Wolf gave up three singles to let Miami load the bases with two outs, but got out of the inning with a called third strikeout — keeping the RedHawks scoreless.
“Anybody can start a game…it’s the guys that have the ability to finish that makes you a good pitcher,” said WVU coach Randy Mazey.
Wolf finished with two runs allowed on six hits with seven strikeouts before he was relieved in the seventh by Zach Ottinger. A junior with pro potential, Wolf likely finished his last start at Monongalia County Ballpark — a fact of which Mazey is in denial.
“I didn’t put two and two together that that was potentially his last appearance at Mon County until it occurred to me,” he said. “It’s just another chapter in his baseball career that he can flip the page and hopefully…move on to bigger, better things.”
Ottinger got West Virginia in another pinch in the eighth, again loading the bases full of RedHawks. He was taken off the mound for Skylar Gonzalez, who allowed a 3-RBI single to Tyler Wardwell. Gonzalez got out of the inning by striking out Nick Clark, but Miami had taken the lead by two runs.
It took a pair of 2-out RBI singles from Davis and McCormick for West Virginia, generating a 3-run swing in the bottom of the eighth to snag the lead right back for WVU.
Madison Jeffrey came in to close out the ninth, giving up just one hit for the save. Gonzalez was awarded the win, while Miami’s Kevin Napoleon took the loss out of the bullpen.
While McCormick was the leader for WVU’s scoring, the Mountaineers got significant contributions from elsewhere in their lineup as well. Nathan Blasick added his third home run of the season (and second over-the-fence homer) in a 1-for-4 night. Davis finished with a pair of hits, as did Victor Scott, who added a double in the sixth. Paul McIntosh tripled in the seventh inning for his only hit of the contest.
Davis added another diving catch in right field to his resume, reprising his SportsCenter Top 10 grab from earlier in the week. This time, he was running to his left, and once again, his hat didn’t survive the duration of the play.
Wardwell logged a pair of RBIs for Miami and was one of two RedHawks to notch multiple hits, along with leadoff man Benji Brokemond.
Miami and West Virginia meet once again on Saturday at 4 p.m. to close out the two-game series in Morgantown.