West Virginia Dominant In 17-1 Win Over Eagles

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - West Virginia handled Eastern Michigan with ease on Tuesday night.

Tuesday evening's contest between West Virginia (26-17) and Eastern Michigan (18-27) was over almost as soon as the initial gun sounded. The Mountaineers notched four runs in the bottom half of the first and got their first (of many) on the game's second at-bat when Ivan "Pudge" Gonzalez blasted his fourth home run of the season to left field. The two-run shot brought home Kyle Gray and gave WVU a 2-0 lead out of the gates. Immediately after the home run Jackson Cramer drew a walk and Darius Hill tripled down the third base line to extend the lead to 3-0. Shortly after Kyle Davis brought Hill home on a sacrifice fly that reached the warning track and gave West Virginia its fourth run of the inning.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, the second inning didn't go much better. After Brandon White and Kyle Gray reached with a pair of singles Gonzalez earned his third RBI of the night on a single to left field. After Jackson Cramer drew his second walk to load the bases, Cole Austin got in on the action with with a two-run scoring double to left and pushed the WVU lead out to 7-0. Kyle Davis then earned another RBI when he hit a grounder that brought home Cramer and scored the Mountaineers' eighth run of the evening.

Both teams went down in order in the third but the bottom of the fourth saw West Virginia earn its third four run inning of the night. After Gonzalez and Cramer led off the inning with a pair of singles, Kyle Davis hit a blooper to shallow right field that singled in a run. One batter later Braden Zarbnisky blasted his first career home run on a three run shot that reached the Mountaineers bullpen in right field, extending the lead to 12-0 after four innings of play.

By the time the fifth inning started West Virginia had made a number of substitutions and defensive changes to get younger players some game experience, but that didn't slow the all-out assault. The Mountaineers added another run on a single by reserve first basemen Kevin Brophy in the fifth and got three more in the bottom of the sixth on RBI singles by Brophy and reserve catcher Chase Illig, which made the score 16-0. 

Eastern Michigan got a run back in the top of the eighth but the Mountaineers quickly answered in the bottom half on a Cole Austin sacrifice fly that brought home Andrew Zitel. That represented West Virginia's 17th and final run of the evening.

On the mound the Mountaineer pitchers were almost equally impressive. A combination of pitchers took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and it is worth noting that both Shane Ennis and Carter Camp made their returns after suffering injuries earlier in the season. Sam Kessler got the win in his first career start after pitching two scoreless and hitless innings.  

West Virginia will be back in action on Friday night when it begins a pivotal Big 12 series with No.5 Texas Tech.

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