Kevin Kinder \ BlueGoldNews.com

Behind Conner Dotson's Strong Start, West Virginia Avoided An Opening-Series Sweep With A 6-3 Win Over Charlotte

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Conner Dotson threw six shutout innings and every player in the line-up had a hit as West Virginia salvaged the third game of the series against Charlotte with a 6-3 win on Sunday.

The Mountaineers (1-2) earned their first win of the season as Dotson threw shutout ball into the 7th inning while eventually allowing  one run on seven hits. WVU’s six runs came on 12 hits. The 49ers (2-1) also had 12 hits, but were held to three runs and four West Virginia pitchers helped Charlotte strand 11 base runners.

 

“We keep telling the team to stay with the process of what we do and you’ll get rewarded for it, so it’s nice for it to come true,” WVU head coach Randy Mazey said. “We did exactly what we thought we were going to do today. Dotson pitched well and we swung the bats pretty well. We’re just trying to figure out who can come out of the bullpen and at what time.”

 

Making his first start of the season, Dotson pitched into the 7th inning and allowed one run on seven hits. He walked just one and did not have any strikeouts.

 

“It would’ve been nice to see him strike out a few more, he didn’t have any strikeouts today,” Mazey added. “His stuff was pretty good and he was throwing it hard and had as good of a breaking ball as he’s had, so that’s encouraging.”

 

The WVU offense was led by freshman center fielder Brandon White, who had a career-best three hits and drove in the first two runs of his career. Sophomore right fielder Darius Hill had a two-hit, two-RBI game for the second day in a row. Hill had at least one hit in each of WVU’s three games to open the year. For Charlotte, right-handed starter Zach Flanagan lasted four innings and allowed seven hits, but held West Virginia to just one run. He struck out two and walked one.

 

The Mountaineers jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first inning. Kyle Davis led off the game with a double down the left-field line and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Jackson Cramer singled him home. After a 1-2-3 bottom of the first, Dotson benefited from a pair of great defensive plays to get out of the second inning unscathed. Third baseman Cole Austin made a diving catch in foul territory for the first out. Charlotte’s Jackson Mims followed with a triple, but on a pitch that got away from sophomore catcher Ivan Gonzalez, he got too far from the bag and was thrown out by Gonzalez.

 

West Virginia had runners reach in the second, third and fourth innings, but could not advance a runner past first base.

 

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Dotson gave up back-to-back singles, but he got an inning-ending double play to end the frame and keep it a 1-0 game. WVU had a chance to extend its lead in the fifth, when back-to-back singles opened the frame. However, with J.D. Prochaska in to relieve Flanagan, a line out, fly out and ground out ended the inning. Meanwhile, Dotson allowed just one single in the fifth and threw a quick, seven-pitch, sixth inning.

 

The Mountaineers’ bats broke through in the seventh, scoring three runs on two hits. Two walks, a single and a fielder’s choice loaded the bases. After Matt Brooks came in to pitch, Gonzalez reached on a fielder’s choice to score the first run. Hill followed with a bases-clearing double to the wall in right center that scored another two.

 

Dotson’s day ended after a lead off single in the seventh inning, leading 4-0. Right-hander Jackson Sigman relieved Dotson, and while he gave up a run, two bases-loaded strikeouts stalled Charlotte’s attempts to cut into the deficit any further. In one inning of work, Sigman struck out three and allowed one run on three hits while stranding the bases loaded.

 

West Virginia followed by tacking on a pair of insurance runs in the eighth inning to extend its lead to 6-1. With the bases loaded and one out, White doubled home Austin and freshman second baseman TJ Lake. It was White’s third hit of the day and first two RBI of his career.

 

Freshman right-hander Isaiah Kearns made his first career appearance in the eighth inning. He held the 49ers to one hit, a single, with two strikeouts. Charlotte scored two in the ninth off freshman righty Alek Manoah, but a groundout ended the game and prevented the home team from getting any closer.

 

Next up, West Virginia travels to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for four games. The Mountaineers open the Caravelle Resort Tournament on Fri., Feb. 24, against George Mason. The weekend continues at Coastal Carolina, the defending national champions, on Saturday, before WVU faces Ball State on Sunday. The Mountaineers close the tournament at Coastal Carolina on Monday.

 

NOTES: WVU earned its first win of the season and improved to 1-2 after the first weekend of play … The Mountaineers improved to 2-4 all-time against the 49ers, with all six games taking place in Charlotte … Starter Conner Dotson picked up the win, pitching 6.0 innings and allowing one run on seven hits with one walk and no strikeouts … Every hitter in the WVU lineup recorded at least one hit … Darius Hill had two hits and two RBI for the second consecutive game and had at least one hit in all three games this season … Brandon White led the team with a career-high three hits and the first two RBI of his career … Isaiah Kearns made his first career appearance and struck out two and allowed one hit in a scoreless eighth inning … Alek Manoah made his first career appearance on the mound and pitched 1.0 innings, allowing one earned run on one hit with one strikeout.


BlueGoldNews Top Stories