Bats Boom Early In WVU Win

Powered by a Shaun Wood grand slam, West Virginia scored eight runs in the first inning on the way to a 14-4 win over Stephen F. Austin in non-conference baseball action on Tuesday.

Wood, who came into the game on a 6-11 tear after a slow start, blasted a no-doubt big fly to right to give the Mountaineers a 6-0 lead in the first. His hit followed a Brad Johnson sacrifice fly and a Ray Guerrini RBI single. Not to be left out, Taylor Munden ripped his Big12-best seventh home run of the season two batters later to give the Mountaineers a huge early cushion.

"That's some of the most fun I've had all season, watching eight runs cross the plate," Mazey said of the first inning outburst.

Thus buffered, freshman starter Adam Keller turned in four respectable innings, although he did have some control issues that led to four hit Lumberjack batters. Two of those came in the second, allowing SFA to score their first run of the game. Otherwise, Keller had a trio of 1-2-3 innings, but then ran into trouble in the fifth, when he again hit two batters. A passed ball and an infield hit ended his day, but he still finished by yielding just two earned runs (three total) while striking out three. He did not allow an extra base hit or a walk.

WVU (11-10) bounced right back after the first SFA run, scoring a pair in the fifth when Justin Fox smacked a single up the middle with the bases loaded. Two innings later, Caleb Potter got his first Mountaineer home run and Brad Johnson drove home his second of the day with a hit that plated Tony Strasiser for a 12-2 lead.

The back-and-forth continued in the bottom of the frame as the Lumberjacks (7-18) added the three off Keller and reliever Seth Jordan, who also battled a few control issues as he suffered two walks and hit two batters. Still, he was charged with just one run, and shut down an SFA rally attempt in the sixth when he got a bases-loaded liner right at Munden for the third out. Based on his work, he was awarded the win on the day. WVU added two more runs in the seventh on a Johnson RBI single and a pair of throwing errors that allowed Munden to scamper home with the final WVU tally of the game.

It’s not often that a pitching staff can hit six batters, walk two more and cruise home with win, but the Mountaineers were able to do so with booming bats. The Mountaineers plated 14 runs on 13 hits, with nine players getting at least one safety. Fox as 3-3 with two RBI and a run scored, while Munden got aboard four times via a hit and three walks. He scored three times and drove in two. Johnson was 2-4 with three RBI, and Caleb Potter was 2-4 with three runs and an RBI. Wood had the grand slam and nearly missed another homer with a warning track shot to center.

"It's encouraging to get Shaun Wood back on a roll," Mazey said. "His last two conference weekends have been pretty good."

WVU used three pitches over the last two innings. Josh Bornstein allowed one hit in the eight but shut things down quickly. Jackson Sigman yielded a run on one hit but did get two outs in the ninth, and Brandon Boone closed things out with the final out. SFA ran through seven pitchers in the game. Starter Pat Day was the victim of the WVU onslaught in the first, giving up six earned runs on 27 pitches while getting just one out and taking the loss. Lumberjack hurlers walked ten and were also hurt by four errors behind them as the game turned into a laugher early on. Fourteen Mountaineer position players got into the contest.

West Virginia remains in Texas for a game against UT-Arlington (12-9) on Wednesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. Eastern.

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