Starting pitchers B.J. Myers of West Virginia and Jon Pirizof Charleston Southern put up outstanding performances in the final contest of the three game set, but Myers proved to be the stronger as the Mountaineers grabbed the series-deciding win by the score of 3-0. The Flower Mound, Tex., sophomore was simply outstanding, pitching eight strong innings to earn the win. He faced just 26 batters and scattered five hits while walking just one. Piriz pitched 5.1 innings before being hit by Darius Hill's infield single which forced his removal, but prior to that had just one earned run on six hits charged against him.
"i just had everything going," Myers said. "I had my fastball, my changeup was on, and I kept them off balance with my slider."
"That was unbelievable," head coach Randy Mazey said of Myers, and of WVU's pitching performance on the weekend as a whole in comments provided by WVU Sports Communication. "We know we have good pitchers."
West Virginia's freshmen came up big in the game, as Kyle Gray and Jimmy Galusky drove in runs to help the Mountaineers get off to a 2-1 start on the season.
WVU put the sole dent against Piriz in the top of the fifth inning. Ray Guerrini, who went 2-4 to raise his season average to a team-best .545 (6-11), singled to lead off and then moved to second on K.C. Huth's sacrifice bunt. Gray followed with his RBI single to plate the Mountaineer catcher, but the uprising was cut short when Gray was caught stealing and Galusky struck out.
After searching for an insurance run for several innings, the Mountaineers finally got two in the top of the ninth. Guerrini was again involved, as he singled and moved to second on another Huth sacrifice bunt, then advanced to third on an infield groundout. Galusky then came through with a double to left center to score Guerrini, and he followed Guerrini's path home when sophomore Kyle Davis doubled off the left field wall.
That production eased the way for Mountaineer reliever Blake Smith, but the big senior hardly needed it. A pop-up and a pair of strikeouts sent the Buccaneers down in order in the bottom of the ninth to give WVU the series win and Smith his first save of the season.
Charleston Southern's best scoring chance came in the first inning, when the Buccaneers (1-2) got a pair of hits and benefitted from a Myers balk. However, a line drive double play (the first of three on the day for WVU), along with a strikeout, combined to get Myers out of the jam.
In addition to Guerrini, Davis, Hill, Cole Austin and Kyle Gray all had two hits for the Mountaineers, who amassed 12 in all. WVU did leave eight runners on, but did produce three hits with runners in scoring position. WVU throttled CSU in similar situations, blanking the Buccaneers in six at-bats with runners on base.
WVU returns to action on Friday, Feb. 26 against UNLV. That game, slated for a 9:00 p.m. Eastern time start, is the first of a seven-game Western road swing that includes three games against the Rebels and four against Hawaii. In between those series, the Mountaineers will also play an exhibition game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, Feb, 29.