Marching Through New Orleans

West Virginia took a bit longer to get going on Friday than it did on Thursday, but the end result was the same. The Mountaineers scored runs in four straight innings to put away the New Orleans Privateers at Hawley Field on a beautiful Friday afternoon by the score of 12-2.

New Orleans starter Alex Smith (0-6) got no help from his defense as WVU scored five unearned runs over the second, third and fourth innings to race out to an 8-0 lead. WVU starter Harrison Musgrave, on the other hand, continued his mastery in chalking up five shutout innings before being removed as Coach Randy Mazey cleared the bench for the second consecutive afternoon.

It was a comedy of errors for the Privateers in the early going. In the second, Ryan McBroom reached on a throwing error and Billy Fleming was hit by a pitch. Taylor Munden then grounded to short, but a UNO throwing error plated McBroom and put Fleming and Munden in scoring position. That was the only run WVU could muster, but one frame later Mountaineer bats came alive.

In the third, Brady Wilson stroked a one out single and stole second on the first pitch. Jacob Rice doubled to drive in Wilson. Rice advanced on a wild pitch and then Matt Frazer knocked in Rice with a routine groundout to third to give WVU a 3-0 lead on two total hits.

Ryan McBroom quickly upped that total as he blasted a long home run leading off the fourth inning. That started a five-run onslaught that put the Mountaineers comfortably in front. With two outs, catcher Max Nogay singled and stole second. After Bobby Boyd walked, Brady Wilson singled to knock in Nogay. Wilson advanced to third on the single.

At that point, the wheels fell off the UNO wagon. With Boyd stealing second, Wilson scored on a wild pitch to make the score 6-0. Rice was hit with another pitch, and Frazer's routine grounder to short was thrown into right field, allowing Wilson and Rice to score.

Leading 8-0, WVU didn't let up. After three straight singles loaded the bases to start the fifth, Max Nogay worked a walk to drive in a run and Bobby Boyd drove in another run with a groundout to short. Boyd appeared to be safe on the play, but the umpire thought differently. That didn't faze Rice, who stroked his second hit of the day to right to score Munden and Nogay, pushing the lead to 12-0.

From there, Mazey again cleared the bench, and WVU cruised home to their 13th win on the season, evening the overall record to .500 with two games left in the series. UNO fell to 4-24.

Thirteen Mountaineers saw action as position players or pinch hitters in the contest. Rice, who leads the team in hitting with a .385 average, was 2-4 with two runs scored and three RBI. Wilson also continued his productive was with two hits, a pair of runs and an RBI, while Nogay also scored twice and drove in a run.

Musgrave (4-1) faced just two batters over the minimum, and again showed excellent control, yielding only three hits and striking out two against no walks in lowering his season ERA to 3.70. Dan Dierdorff and Josh Harlow each pitched two inning in relief. Each gave up a run, but only Harlow's was earned. UNO managed four hits in the final two innings after getting just three in the first seven frames.

The series continues at Hawley Field at noon Saturday with a doubleheader, as Sunday's game has been moved up due to a forecast for thunderstorms in the area.

Corey Walter (1-2, 5.11) is scheduled to start the first game for the Mountaineers. He will square off with Stone Speer (1-5, 5.59) in the noon opener. Scheduled to start thirty minutes after the completion of the first game, John Means (3-1, 1.65) is slated to take the hill against Privateer Blake Prest (1-5, 8.16).