Kevin Kinder \ BlueGoldNews.com

Myers' Excellent Pitching Performance Paces West Virginia Baseball Win

Seven stellar innings from junior right-hander BJ Myers and a five-run seventh inning propelled the West Virginia University baseball team to a 5-3 victory over George Mason in the opening game of the Caravelle Resort Tournament, on Friday afternoon in Myrtle Beach, S. C.

While earning his first win of the season, Myers pitched seven strong innings, allowing just one run on four hits, but the Mountaineers (2-2) trailed 1-0 before the offense broke through with five runs in the seventh inning, all with two outs.

Myers allowed just two extra-base hits and struck out seven and walked one. After allowing a home run in the first inning, he retired 10 in a row and did not allow his second hit until the fifth inning.

“BJ’s going to give us a chance to win every game,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “He goes out there and throws strikes, keeps the ball down and always limits the damage. He gave up a solo homer in the first inning, and those rarely beat you, especially early in the game. That’s as good as I’ve seen BJ, which was super encouraging.”

After stranding seven baserunners in the first six innings, the Mountaineers’ bats broke through in the seventh, taking advantage of a pair of two-out walks before back-to-back extra-base hits. With the bases loaded and two outs, senior first baseman Jackson Cramer drew four straight balls to bring in the first run and tie the game at 1-1.

Sophomore second baseman Cole Austin followed with a bases-clearing triple to the wall in right field to bring home three runs and give West Virginia its first lead of the game at 4-1. Sophomore designated hitter Marques Inman then doubled to the wall in center to score Austin and extend the WVU advantage to 5-1.

“Patience,” Mazey said of WVU’s ability to break through in the seventh. “We were getting hits early in the game. If you stay calm and stay patient, it’s just a matter of time until you get the big one. I thought our at-bats were good, it was the third game of our first four where we had double-digit hits, so we’re swinging the bats well. Once these guys get into the flow of things and start seeing a lot of pitches, I think this offense is going to take off. We just showed patience early in the game when we weren’t getting a big hit, and eventually we did.”

With the Mountaineers holding their first lead of the game, sophomore righty Braden Zarbnisky  pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, with two strikeouts. In the ninth, sophomore right-hander Jacob Potock gave up a two-out, two-run home run, but a pair of strikeouts helped him secure WVU’s second consecutive win.

The Patriots (2-2) scored their three runs on five hits, while West Virginia’s five runs came on 10 hits. Neither team recorded an error. WVU stranded eight baserunners and Mason stranded four.

Austin’s season-high three RBI led the team, while junior left fielder Kyle Davis had a team-high three hits, a season-high and career-high-tying total. Davis was one of seven Mountaineers with at least one hit.

The game began with a solo home run off Myers by the Patriots’ Michael Smith. The West Virginia right-hander quickly settled down though, retiring George Mason in order in the second and third. A two-out walk in the fourth snapped a stretch of 10 consecutive batters retired.

A one-out double in the seventh inning, followed by a hit batter, was the only time all game Myers allowed the Patriots to either have a runner in scoring position or two runners on base.

While Myers was putting down George Mason, the offense was having similar success, though the Mountaineers could not break through until the seventh. WVU had three hits in the first inning, a runner reach third base in the third, second base in the fourth, and back-to-back singles in the fifth.

A hit batter in the sixth marked the fifth inning WVU had a runner on base. In the game, WVU did not have a baserunner in just the second and eighth innings.

However, the seventh inning proved to be where West Virginia broke through. Two straight singles, a fielder’s choice and a walk loaded the bases. After a walk tied the game, Austin and Inman produced.

The Caravelle Resort Tournament resumes for the Mountaineers on Saturday at No. 19 Coastal Carolina at 2 p.m. ET, in Conway. WVU then takes on Ball State on Sunday at 11 a.m., back in Myrtle Beach, before the weekend concludes at Coastal Carolina on Monday at noon.

NOTES: WVU improved to 2-2 on the season and 4-3 all-time against George Mason … West Virginia has out-hit its opponent in three of the first four games this season … Starter BJ Myers pitched seven innings and allowed one run on four hits with seven strikeouts and one walk … Catcher Chase Illig made his first career start … Kyle Davis led WVU with a season-high and career-high-tying three hits … Cole Austin’s three RBI are a season high … The Caravelle Resort Tournament continues tomorrow at No. 19 Coastal Carolina … CCU is WVU’s first ranked opponent of the season and the first time in program history the Mountaineers will face a defending national champion.


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