West Virginia Uses 15 Hits, Another Strong Outing From Chad Donato In 11-2 Victory Over Texas

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia banged out 15 hits and scored in four different frames to back starter Chad Donato as the Mountaineers beat Texas 11-2 on Friday to take the opening game of the series.

Just one start after coming off a two-hit shutout against Baylor, Donato threw seven innings of five-hit ball, allowing just two Texas runs in staking the surging Mountaineers to a 5-2 lead that would balloon over the last two innings. Donato finished with 122 pitches, and even on an evening where he struggled with fastball control, his change-up and curve were excellent, and the right-hander routinely threw them deep into counts and across key situations. The biggest moment came late, when Donato loaded the bases with no outs in the 7th inning, then was able to induce a sacrifice fly before striking out the top two hitters in the Texas order to get out of the situation with minimal damage. 

It was as impressive an individual outing as Donato has had this season, and one head coach Randy Mazey called his grittiest of performances. Donato, above, talks about his fastball, how he settled into his change-up as the game progressed, and the offensive backing he received as every Mountaineer that came to the plate had at least one hit.

Vera, below, had his best game at the college level, the freshman making a series of diving plays at third base. Vera went 2-for-4 with two RBI, a double and two runs scored in raising his average to a team-best .442 - which would rank him second in the nation if he had enough at-bats to be eligible. Vera didn't take over the starting spot at third until midway through the season, but has been a stalwart both offensively and defensively, which has allowed Kyle Davis to be the de facto designated hitter. Vera, like Donato a Texas native, talks about what it means for them to play the Longhorns, how both were overlooked by the Lone Star States prime program, and how their play reflects that. Vera also dishes on his movement from behind the plate into the field - he was the back-up catcher to Ray Guerrini early - and how he has taken to the hot corner.

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