The season series in West Virginia’s biggest in-state rivalry is going to the Mountaineers.
Despite a good start on the scoreboard from Marshall (13-16-1), West Virginia (17-10) thrashed the Thundering Herd 17-4. The Mountaineers took advantage of a struggling Herd pitching staff as they put 16 hits on the board.
WVU stormed back from an early 4-run deficit, tapped off by an RBI double from JJ Wetherholt in the third inning. The Mountaineers completed the comeback in the fourth inning when they added seven more runs on eight hits as they batted around.
“The guys didn’t panic, they kept with their approaches, and it started working out for us,” said head coach Randy Mazey.
The Mountaineers scored another six runs in the seventh when Marshall’s pitching woes came to a head. Four different Marshall pitchers gave up four walks, hit two batters and allowed two of those runs on wild pitches in that frame to essentially seal the victory for West Virginia.
In total, seven Marshall hurlers took the mound in the contest. Starter Chad Heiner (0-2) worked for a team-high 3.2 innings, and took the loss after allowing seven runs on 11 hits.
WVU coach Randy Mazey was even less frugal with his arms, trotting 10 pitchers onto the rubber throughout the game. Zach Ottinger (1-0) earned the victory after two full innings of scoreless work.
The Mountaineers did let the Herd back into the game in the ninth inning, as they scored four runs to soften the blow. In reality, that did little more than to just cut the deficit to double digits as WVU took a nine-run victory.
“I think they sensed the relief in the dugout. You know, the game’s never over,” Mazey said. “We’ve had big leads before and lost them, so it’s never over, and it helps when you get some new guys in the game because they always come in the game with energy.”
Wetherholt led the Mountaineers with a 4 for 5 day, recording a pair of doubles and three RBIs. Austin Davis added a trio of hits, a pair of RBIs and a steal to the offensive effort, while Tevin Tucker and Mikey Kluska each chipped in two RBIs as well. Tucker logged his first triple of the season in the fourth inning.
Marshall did hang eight hits on WVU’s pitchers. Travis Sankovich topped the offense with three hits and a pair of runs, while Ryan Leitch led the Herd with two RBIs, including a solo home run in the second inning.
WVU has now taken both of its contests against its in-state rival, but Mazey left the door open for a possible third showdown as the Mountaineers need to play some make-up games.
“If you’re ever going to have a good season and play in the postseason, you have to win these games,” Mazey said.
West Virginia continues its home stand on Saturday when it hosts Baylor for its first home series in the Big 12. First pitch on Friday is set for 6:30 p.m. ET on Big 12 Now on ESPN+.