West Virginia Completes Las Vegas Sweep With 9-4 win over UNLV

West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey knew that he had a solid weekend starting pitching staff heading into the season, but even he has to be pleasantly surprised with the way the Mountaineers have begun the year. B.J. Myers turned in another excellent starting performance, supported by a five hit day from freshman Jimmy Galusky, as WVU completed a sweep of UNLV with a 9-4 win on Sunday in Las Vegas.

In support of the excellent pitching, West Virginia got huge support from the bottom of the batting order, led by  Galusky in the nine hole. In all, WVU's starters in the bottom third were 9-14 on the day.

Starting pitcher B.J. Myers, who came into the game without having yielded a run, was again in control throughout. He gave up only one unearned run, and left with his season ERA of 0.00 unblemished. In seven innings of work, he allowed just four baserunners while striking out four. His control was also sharp, as he fired 56 strikes on 91 pitches.

WVU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead with a combination of small and long ball in the top of the second. Catcher Ray Guerrini walked and then stole second and third, but he was able to trot home when centerfielder K.C. Huth blasted a fastball over the left field wall. The no-doubt blast was Huth's second of the season.

Huth's bomb portended a great day for the bottom of the Mountaineer batting order. He started another rally for WVU in the fourth with a single, and then advanced to second on an error. A second consecutive miscue by UNLV put Kyle Gray aboard, and Jimmy Galusky scored Huth with an RBI single on the Mountaineers' staple hit and run tactic. Gray then came home on the third Rebel error of the inning, putting the Mountaineers ahead 4-0. Two innings later, Galusky ripped a first pitch home run to left, the first of his Mountaineer career, to boost the lead to 5-0.

Galusky would go on to record two more hits, giving him a 5-5 performance on the afternoon. In all, the bottom three in the order had nine of the Mountaineers' 14 hits, whihc helped offset an uncharacteristic 1-16 day from the top three in the lineup. In between Huth and Galusky, Gray also had a hit and scored a run, and contributed defensively with a nice sliding catch in the bottom of the sixth to limit UNLV to one run.

The big day moved Huth's batting average to a team best .421, with Galusky following in his footsteps at .391. First baseman Jackson Cramer also broke out with a pair of hits.

UNLV's pitchers did manage to get the Mountaineers chasing some balls, as they recorded nine strikeouts on the afternoon. However, WVU's aggressive approach resulted in a number of scoring opportunities, and clutch hits combined with shaky UNLV defense were more than enough to put WVU on top again.

As it did on Saturday, West Virginia piled up runs late. This time, it was a four-run, four-hit eighth that made UNLV's final inning rally moot. Galusky laid down his second bunt single of the day, and then the Mountaineers began ordering doubles. Two-baggers from Kyle Davis, Jackson Cramer and Guerrini, sandwiched around another UNLV error, scored four runs for the Mountaineers.

UNLV starting pitcher Kenny Oakley battled for as long as he could, but three UNLV errors, along with good WVU plate appearances up and down the lineup, forced him to throw 104 pitches in five innings of work. WVU reached him for seven hits and four runs (three earned), but he did manage to strike out five. He also had a walk and hit one batter.

The only real blemish on the day for the Mountaineers was a shaky relief performance from closer Blake Smith. The big senior had trouble finding the strike zone in the ninth, yielding lengthy at-bats and two walks, which resulted in two earned runs.

WVU stays out west for a Monday exhibition game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, which is part of the major league's team spring training schedule. The Mountaineers will likely use a number of pitchers and give the majority of their travel roster a shot in the game, which will be played in Scottsdale, Ariz. WVU will then fly to Hawaii for a four-game set against the University of Hawaii on March 3-6. The Rainbow Warriors are 3-4 on the season.


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