After falling behind 5-0 over the first three and one-half innings, West Virginia managed to dent the scoreboard for two runs in the fourth. Austin Markel singled home Jedd Gyorko and Vince Belnome scored on a balk to cut the lead to 5-2.
The Irish, however, responded with two runs in the top of the fifth to push the margin back out to five, and were able to hold the Mountaineers to two more runs the rest of the way. Gyorko's sacrifice fly in the fifth and Brent Lockhart's solo run in the ninth weren't enough to overcome Notre Dame's early offense.
A lack of control hurt WVU starting pitcher Josh Whitlock, and figured in several of Notre Dame's runs. Two walks in the second inning put two Irish runners aboard that later scored, and hit batsmen in the third and fifth innings also contributed to Notre Dame tallies. Whitlock ended up allowing seven runs, six of them earned, over six innings in taking the loss. Reliever Eric Saffell did a creditable job, yielding just one run over the final three frames. The duo combined to hit four batters on the afternoon.
Jutin Parks had three hits for the Mountaineers, while Belnome had two. WVU fell to 7-6 in the league and 27-10 overall, while Notre Dame improved to 11-2 in the league and 24-9-1 on the season.
The middle game of the three-game set is scheduled for Saturday at 3:00 p.m.