MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Seven starters had at least one hit as the West Virginia University baseball team defeated Canisius, 9-2, on Wednesday afternoon at Monongalia County Ballpark.
The Mountaineers (17-17) scored nine runs on nine hits while limiting the Golden Griffins (20-12) to just two runs. WVU pitchers struck out 12 batters, led by sophomore right-handed starter Isaiah Kearns, with a career-high-tying eight.
WVU improved to 3-1 this season against CC, after the two teams met in Morgantown for a weekend series in March. Today’s game was organized yesterday after inclement weather canceled the Mountaineers’ game at Pitt on Tuesday night.
“This was a great day to play,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “It warmed up for us. Yesterday, we were out here practicing in a driving blizzard. So, it was just good that we got to play. You just want to play, man. When you get the opportunity to play, we just want to come out and play. I appreciate these guys (Canisius) coming down on short notice, because they needed to play too. A lot of good things happened today. I’m thankful we got the game in.”
The West Virginia offensive charge was led by sophomore designated hitter Marques Inman, who drove in WVU’s first three runs on one hit, while freshman third baseman Tyler Doanes had two hits and two RBIs.
Seven of the nine Mountaineer starters had at least one hit, while seven scored at least one run and six drove in one or more runs.
“We’re swinging the bat pretty well right now,” Mazey added. “We have been for the last eight or 10 games. When you’re swinging the bat well, you want to keep hitting, keep hitting, keep hitting. If we wouldn’t have played today and after cancelling yesterday, it can take a hot hitter and cool him off pretty quickly. So, the fact that we just got out there and saw some pitches really helped us.”
On the mound, Kearns earned the win to improve to 2-1 on the season. A week after striking out a career-high eight batters in a win over Pitt, Kearns matched that total in just 4.0 innings. He allowed two runs on two five hits with one walk.
The Mountaineers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning, scoring first for the 18th time this season and plating a run in the first inning for the 15th time. Sophomore center fielder Brandon White got the inning going with a one-out single, stole second and took third on another single. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Inman.
The Golden Griffins answered with the only two runs they would score in the game in the second inning to take a 2-1 lead. With the bases loaded and two outs after two singles and a fielder’s choice, a single scored a pair. A walk followed before Kearns got a strikeout to end the inning and strand the bases loaded.
West Virginia got the two runs back in the third to take a 3-2 lead. Junior shortstop Jimmy Galusky was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, stole second and took third on a single by junior left fielder Braden Zarbnisky. With two outs, Galusky and Zarbnisky scored on a double down the left-field line by Inman on an 0-2 pitch.
Kearns followed it up with a 1-2-3 fourth inning, with a pair of strikeouts.
WVU added two more in the fourth to extend its lead to 5-2. Doanes singled to lead off the inning, stole second and scored on a single up the middle by Galusky. The Mountaineers’ second run came on a sac bunt by Zarbnisky, scoring junior catcher Ivan Gonzalez from third.
Senior right-hander Shane Ennis relieved Kearns to start the fifth and pitched 2.0 scoreless innings. He allowed just one hit with a pair of walks. Freshman righty Tristen Hudson added a scoreless seventh before the Mountaineers tacked on two more in the bottom of the seventh.
A groundout by White brought home Galusky, and a sacrifice fly by junior right fielder Darius Hill scored the next West Virginia run. With two on and two out, Doanes hit his third triple of the season to bring in a pair and give WVU a 9-2 advantage.
Hudson pitched a scoreless eighth before sophomore righty Alek Manoah threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Up next, West Virginia hosts Kansas State in a three-game series from April 20-22 at Monongalia County Ballpark. The series begins at 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday, April 20, and continues on Saturday at 4 p.m. Sunday’s series finale will begin at 1 p.m.
Press Release Credit: WVU Athletics Communications
Photo Credit: Jeff Ruff, BGS