West Virginia (12-8, 2-1 Big 12) put together one of its most complete performances of the season in an 8-1 win over Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon.
The Mountaineers got it going early as Darius Hill hit a two out, two run double to left field in the bottom of the first. That seemingly set the tone for the rest of the afternoon as Michael Grove mowed through Jacksonville's batting order and the Mountaineers teed off on the Dolphins' pitching staff.
In the top half of the second, freshman Chase Illig continued to impress and extended West Virginia's lead to 3-0 on a deep solo shot, his second home run of the season. The Mountaineers continued to hit starting Dolphin pitcher Chris Gau into the third and fourth but weren't able to notch another run until the fifth inning when Jackson Cramer hit his second home run in as many days.
Shortstop Jimmy Galusky executed a bunt nicely and brought home another run to push the lead out to 5-1 in the bottom of the sixth before the Mountaineers' bats exploded in the bottom half of the seventh. After Kyle Davis was hit by a pitch and Jackson Cramer singled, Cole Austin attempted to hit a sacrifice fly when Dolphin center fielder Connor Stephens made a costly error, dropping a routine fly ball and enabling both runners to score. Austin reached third and was brought home by Darius Hill one batter later, pushing West Virginia's lead to 8-1 after seven innings of play.
That score would hold for the final two innings as Alex Manoah came on for the save and Michael Grove earned his second win of the season. Grove struck out eight batters in 7.2 innings of work and put forth what could be his best outing of the season in the win. The second game of the double header will start at approximately 6:07 p.m. as the Mountaineers try for a sweep.