WVU used both aspects of play in the 14-7 thrashing of Marshall on Tuesday. First baseman Jackson Cramer went 3-for-6 with a home run, double and four RBI, while five players recorded at least two hits in the outburst. In all, West Virginia took a page directly from head coach Randy Mazey's book, getting key extra base hits in pounding out 16 overall in a third straight win over the in-state school. The 14 runs scored represent the third-most this season, and came at a key time as it allowed WVU to nurse its bullpen a bit and utilize two freshmen starters to go the distance.
Cramer, above, speaks to his newfound patience with himself in the early season after pressing the past two years, and how that has translated into a more aggressive approach at the plate that sees the senior swinging for more power. Cramer also dissects how Marshall's staff attempted to mix its pitches, never offering the same one twice in a row to the power hitter, and how he had to capitalize on mistakes as a result. Cramer pounded a pair of change-ups from MU, and was able to reach base three times and score three runs in raising his season average to .337, far ahead of his pace at the same time the last two years.
Reliever Sam Kessler, below, delves into how he utilized his slider against a solid Thundering Herd offense and managed to keep the offspeed pitch down to induce ground balls in a rather windy night at the park. Kessler entered in the 6th inning and allowed just one hit over the final 3.1 innings pitched while striking out four and walking just one. The right-hander managed the location of his offspeed well, but left a few fastballs over the plate that weren't taken advantage of. Still, the outing came at a perfect time for West Virginia, which needed to rest its pen after starter Connor Dotson went down with a season-ending injury just prior to the series finale at Oklahoma State.
The win was WVU's eighth in 11 games and sets up another midweek clash versus Morehead State (22-6), which is 39th in the RPI. The Mountaineers then play host to Big 12 foe Kansas this weekend over a three-game series. The Mountaineers are in the early stages of a stretch in which they play eight of the next nine games at home. WVU has won five of the last six games against Marshall and 14 of the last 17. Its 14 runs scored are the most against the Herd since a 17-2 road win in April of 1988.