Jimmy Galusky opened the scoring for West Virginia with a two-out RBI single in the top of the second inning, and WVU’s pitching staff closed the door from then on to earn a 1-0 win in the series opener against Kansas in Lawrence.
Starting pitcher Chad Donato did yeoman’s work in this game, throwing 118 pitches in seven innings of scoreless baseball. He struck out five KU hitters, issued one walk, but did hit two batters which put him in some tough spots throughout the game.
But Donato was able to work out of jams time and time again tonight, and earned his first win of the season despite pitching well throughout the year so far.
“Donato did what he does. He finally got a win and he deserved one,” said head coach Randy Mazey on IMG’s Mountaineer postgame report.
“He was attacking. He didn’t really have his breaking ball going but he had it enough. He hit a couple guys with it and they weren’t swinging at missing at it much, but when he needed a strike with it he got it.”
Donato was spelled by Michael Grove, who came in to work the eighth, but left after walking the first batter he faced. In a one-run game, Mazey went to his closer an inning early tonight, and Blake Smith delivered.
Smith gave up two hits in the ninth to make things interesting, but recovered to keep KU off the board and send West Virginia to its first Big 12 win of the year. The Mountaineers are now 11-8 overall and 1-3 in Big 12 play. Kansas fell to 7-12 with the loss and 0-1 in the conference.
The decisive second inning started rather inconspicuously for the Mountaineers as Marques Inman and Jackson Cramer both went down via swinging strikeouts. But a two out single by KC Huth got things going, and after Ray Guerrini drew a walk, WVU had a man in scoring position with two outs.
Enter redshirt freshman Jimmy Galusky, who has been playing some great baseball early in his career for Mazey and Co. The Arthurdale, W.Va. native ripped a single into left, scoring Huth and giving WVU a 1-0 lead that would still stand seven innings later.
In a game that lacked any sort of sustained offensive rallies – Galusky’s hit was just one of four the Mountaineers could muster tonight – a two-out knock in the second inning was enough to secure a win for West Virginia.
“Everybody’s got a lot of heart left except me. On the road, I don’t know how many times we struck out, in a game like that it just comes down to one hit, one at bat,” Mazey said.
West Virginia and Kansas will be back in action tomorrow in game two of the series. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. Eastern.