After blowing a lead late in game 1, West Virginia's offense left no doubt in the second of the twin billing, pushing across eight runs on the strength of 16 hits to avoid a sweep with a 8-5 win over Furman in the series finale.
Freshmen Andrew Zitel and Darius Hill combined to go 5-for-8 and drive in four runs to lead the offensive effort for the Mountaineers. All in all, five Mountaineers came up with multiple hits in the second game this afternoon to help push WVU's overall record to 17-13.
Head coach Randy Mazey rolled out a lineup that included eight freshmen for the second game, and the young guns stepped up to turn what could have been a disastrous Sunday afternoon into a much more palatable result.
Junior catcher Ray Guerrini, the only non-freshman position player in the starting lineup today, smashed a solo home run over the left field wall in the fourth inning to put WVU back on top 3-2, and the Mountaineers would not surrender the lead again. It was Guerrini's third home run of the year and 13th RBI.
"It's just a mentality that you don't want to get swept," Guerrini said, "Especially by a team that we believe we're better than. We kind of all rallied together and supported the lineup that (Mazey) had today with a lot of young freshmen."
"I felt like I was the oldest one out there, so I had a little more obligation to be the leader, get the defense going and keep everybody together. That was my part today," Guerrini said.
Sophomore starting pitcher BJ Myers pitched an efficient ball game against the Paladins, working 6.2 innings and giving up three runs, two of which were earned, while striking out five and walking three. Myers was awarded the win and evened his record at 3-3, while his ERA now sits at a tidy 2.84, which is a staff-best mark 30 games into the season.
The Mountaineers committed three errors in the second game, but unlike the first tilt of the afternoon, the pitching staff was able to pick its defense up and still lock down the victory.
With the win, West Virginia avoided what would have been an absolute disaster of a weekend sweep at the hands of a 13-18 non-conference foe, but the Sunday afternoon salvage will hardly do wonders for the Mountaineers' RPI, which was at 69 before today's games.
WVU will be in action next on Tuesday evening when the Pittsburgh Panthers come to Morgantown for the hardball version of the Backyard Brawl. Pittsburgh sits at 14-13 on the year, and is coming off a 13-6 win on the road over Georgia Tech which was preceded by three-straight losses.