Kevin Kinder \

Baylor Defeats West Virginia 8-6 In First Game of Double-Header

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - A pair of home runs from Josh Bissonette and Richard Cunningham propelled Baylor to an 8-6 victory over West Virginia on Saturday afternoon.

Baylor (20-23, 6-11 Big 12) put together an impressive offensive performance, amassing eight runs off of 10 hits against the Mountaineers (22-19, 7-9 Big 12) and earning a victory in the first game of a Saturday afternoon double-header at Monongalia County Ball Park.

Freshman pitcher Michael Grove (1-3) had an impressive start to the outing, only allowing one hit through the first three innings, but Baylor was able to get its bats going in the top of the fourth. Sophomore left fielder Kameron Esthay doubled on an 0-2 pitch to left field to lead off the inning. After Esthay's double, Grove was able to strike out Baylor right fielder Darryn Sheppard, but Mountaineer catcher Ray Guerrini couldn't stop the pitch and Shepherd was able to reach base as Esthay advanced to third. First baseman Aaron Dodson then came to the plate and hit an RBI fielder's choice that would score Esthay and give the Bears their first run of the game. After Dodson's RBI, Grove allowed a single to Matt Manard and Justin Arrington hit an RBI single to center field giving the Bears a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning.

WVU wasted little time answering Baylor's two run top of the fourth, as Kyle Davis hit a lead off with a double to start the bottom half of the inning. Two batters later freshman Ivan Vera hit a one out single that put runners at the corners for the Mountaineers. Moments later Davis scored on a passed ball, giving the Mountaineers their first run of the game. After Davis scored, the Bears walked Ray Guerrini and then then Cole Austin hit a sacrifice fly to center field with the bases loaded that would tie the game at two a piece.

It looked as if Michal Grove had regained his composure as he struck out two of the three batters he faced in the fifth inning, but Baylor regained control in the top of the sixth after Josh Bissonette hit a three-run home run with two outs that put the Bears up 5-2. The three-run blast put an end Grove's day after the freshman right hander threw for 9 strikeouts in six innings. WVU was able to lead off the bottom of the sixth with an double by Ivan Vera but Baylor pitcher Daniel Castano (3-4) was able to retire the next three batters in order putting an end to any chance WVU had to replicate their fourth inning performance.

In the top of the seventh inning senior pitcher Jeff Hardy came out in relief of Grove, and immediately allowed a single to Steven McLean. A wild pitch allowed McLean to advance to second base and then shortly after the wild pitch Kameron Esthay registered his third hit of the game on an RBI single, extending the Bears' lead to 6-2. Hardy was able get through the rest of the inning unscathed, retiring the next three batters he faced in order.

WVU got two runs back in the bottom of the seventh inning on RBI singles from Braden Zarbnisky and Kyle Davis. However, Baylor would quickly get those runs back in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run blast to the party deck in deep right field from Richard Cunningham, giving the Bears a four run cushion going and 8-4 lead going into the bottom of the eighth.

The Mountaineers were able to pick up two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning on a Kyle Davis RBI sacrifice fly and an Ivan Vera RBI single with two outs, but the comeback fell short and Baylor won 8-6 after Jackson Cramer grounded out for the games final out.

WVU will try and take the series with a win in the second game of the double-header, which will start at approximately 3:40 p.m.

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