First, and perhaps foremost, reliever Blake Smith was able to enter in what was already a five-run 8th inning for Marshall and quickly douse the offensive flames by retiring two batters who both represented the winning run. Nursing a 9-8 lead, Smith then retired the side in order in the final frame, getting a pair of strikeouts, none bigger than the last one against the Herd's Tommy Lane. Lane entered with a team-best 10 home runs this season, and his ability to spray the ball to all fields was a worry, even with the bases clear. Smith worked a full count against the .300 hitter, then buried a slider that had Lane flailing for the 27th out as WVU hung on for a needed win. Smith, above, talks about that at-bat and his performance overall in picking up his fifth save of the season.
Next, designated hitter and reserve catcher Ivan Vera, who was switched to third base by head coach Randy Mazey in order to get his bat in the line-up while also allowing starting pitcher Braden Zarbnisky to hit, details what it was like to make his first collegiate start at the hot corner. Vera went 2-for-2 with a pair of RBI and a run scored, and made a huge diving stop on a sharp grounder by Lane that saved at least one, and perhaps two, runs.
And finally, first baseman Jackson Cramer dissects his more patient plate approach, and how he is seeing the ball both in and out of the zone. Cramer went 3-for-4 with 4 RBI, all on singles. Cramer also speaks to the effort of Vera at third, and what that added dimension and flexibility could bring to WVU's line-up as it enters a weekend home series against Baylor.