Bedeviling

West Virginia and Duke sent ace lefties to the mound for their game on Friday afternoon. Both were stellar, but the Mountaineers took the contest by the score of 3-1 on the strength of clutch hitting from first baseman Ryan McBroom.

West Virginia starting pitcher Harrison Musgrave was perfect through 6 2/3 innings. Duke's Trent Swart was only slightly less effective. The battle led to a string of zeroes across the scoreboard, but in the end the Mountaineers put up three runs to take the win over the ACC Blue Devils.

Musgrave was perfect through 6 2/3 innings, retiring 20 consecutive batters. Ten of those outs came via strikeouts before Duke resorted to a bunt to break up his perfect game in the seventh. He continued on to complete eight innings, striking out 12 and walking none while allowing just two hits.

West Virginia (3-4) got one run in the top of the third to support Musgrave, although it appeared the Mountaineers might be cooking up more. Taylor Munden and Bobby Boyd led off with singles, but Bobby Fleming grounded into a fielder's choice, which moved Munden to third. McBroom then grounded to short, earning another fielder's choice that scored Munden for the game's first run. Jacob Rice then flied out to center to end the threat.

Swart was nearly as good as Musgrave. He allowed just four hits and one walk through seven innings, and kept the Blue Devils in the game. However, while pitching to Taylor Munden in the top of the eighth, he uncorked a wild pitch that went to the backstop, and apparently injured his elbow on the throw. He was immediately removed from the game, and the Mountaineers were quick to take advantage.

Boyd beat out an infield hit, then stole second on a 3-2 pitch that sent Fleming down swinging. He advanced to third on a wild pitch to McBroom, but as it turned out he didn't need to go anywhere. McBroom crushed reliever Corey Stevens' 2-1 pitch for a home run to left to give the Mountaineers a 3-0 lead -- and as it turned out, those two additional runs were vital.

Relief pitching has been sketchy for WVU so far this year, and that again proved to be the case in this contest. Pascal Paul allowed an infield single and a walk to open the ninth, but steadied himself with a pair of strikeouts to get within one out of the save. However, head coach Randy Mazey brought in Joby Lapkowicz to face Chris Marconcini in a lefty-lefty confrontation. Marconcini promptly laced a single to left to load the bases. That hit yielded another change, as Corey Walter became the third Mountaineer reliever of the inning, and things didn't start off well as Ryan Deitrich drove in a run by beating out an infield single to short.

At 3-1 and with the bases still loaded, hearts were pounding and minds flipping back to the Louisville game, which WVU lost on late inning scores. This time, however, the story ended more happily, as Jordan Betts' grounder to third was snared by WVU's Cody Semler, who raced to the bag for the forceout to end the game.

McBroom drove in all three WVU runs, while Boyd had two of the six Mountaineer hits. Musgrave earned his second win of the season, while Walter snared his first save of the year. Duke's highlights were few, as West Virginia pitchers scattered five hits across the lineup.

The Mountaineers continue their Myrtle Beach weekend series with a 1:30 p.m. game against Coastal Carolina on Saturday. The host Chanticleers are 2-5 on the season, and slated to take on Rhode Island Friday evening.

RIFLE REPORTS The teams combined for 11 hits in 68 at-bats, yielding an overall batting average of .161. WVU pitchers threw 91 strikes on 133 total pitches.

Musgrave allowed fewer hits through eight innings (two) than WVU gave up as a team in the ninth (three).

The weekend series, hosted by Coastal Carolina and titled the "Caravelle Resort Tournament", also features James Madison, Rhode Island, and Marshall. The Mountaineers face JMU on sunday, but do not face Rhode Island or the Herd.


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