Bats Silenced Again

West Virginia again could not get its offense going in a 5-1 loss to North Carolina State on Friday afternoon.

The Mountaineers managed just four hits in the loss against a strong pitching effort from three Wolfpack pitchers. Starter Jeff Stallings retired the first 11 Mountaineers in order before left fielder Justin Jenkins broke the string with a solo home run to left field to briefly tie the score at 1-1. That was pretty much it for the Mountaineer offense, however, as WVU had just one other serious scoring threat on the afternoon. That came in the fifth inning, when Justin Markell advanced to third base with two outs. However, he was stranded there when catcher Justin Parks struck out.

With so few baserunners, it was critical that the Mountaineers get some timely hits to produce scoring chances, but that didn't materialize either. WVU was 0-4 with runners in scoring position and 0-8 with runners on during the game.

N.C. State's pitching was the model of efficiency, as Stallings, along with Jake Kensmore and Kyle Rutter, struck out nine batters while walking just one. Backed by an error-free performance from the Wolpack defense, N.C. State was in charge throughout.

The Pack jumped out on top in the first inning courtesy of a walk and a wild pitch by WVU starter Kenny Durst. He worked out of that jam, and also allowed just one run in the fifth while stranding three runners on base. Despite his battle there, he was removed in favor of releiver Billy Gross, who had a rough outing. Gross gave up three earned runs, yielding a single run in the seventh (again courtesy of a leadoff walk) and two more in the eighth on a two-RBI double to Ramon Corona.

West Virginia (2-2) faces UNC Wilmington on Saturday in the second game of the Baseball at the Beach tournament. At the top of the order, WVU's Adam White, Tyler Kuhn and Justin Jenkins each had one hit. Jenkins provided West Virginia's sole run with a sole home run in the top of the fourth that briefly tied the score. However, that was West Virginia's only extra base hit, and the Mountaineers didn't mount any other serious scoring threats on the afternoon.

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