CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The No. 21 West Virginia University baseball team swept the season series against in-state foe Marshall for the second consecutive season with an 8-4 win on Tuesday evening.
In front of a near-capacity crowd of 4,217 at Appalachian Power Park, the Mountaineers (22-13) scored in five of the first six innings to improve to 45-24 all-time against the Thundering Herd (18-18) and 15-3 in the last 18 meetings.
The win came a day after WVU was ranked in four national polls for the first time in program history and earned a spot in a top 25 poll for the first time since 1982. WVU has won nine of its last 12.
“We know what we have to do, and we aren’t going to get caught up in anything like that,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said of his team’s first game after entering the top 25. “We’re taking it one at a time, because we knew that if you don’t show up, then anybody on the schedule can beat you any day. We grinded out runs when we needed them.”
Sophomore catcher Ivan Gonzalez
led the way offensively, with four hits, three RBIs and three runs scored. Gonzalez hit his third home run of the season and was a triple shy of the cycle. Junior left fielder Kyle Davis
also added a home run, his fifth of the season.
On the mound, the Mountaineers were fueled by a strong start from freshman Kade Strowd
and 5.0 lights-out relief innings from fellow freshman right-hander Riley Troutt
Making his third career start, Strowd pitched 4.0 innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts and four walks.
Troutt finished the game, pitching 5.0 shutout innings to earn his first career win. He struck out four and gave up four hits with no runs and no walks.
The Mountaineers got on the board with a pair of runs in the first inning, on RBI singles by sophomore right fielder Darius Hill
and sophomore shortstop Jimmy Galusky
After Marshall cut the lead in half with a run in the bottom of the second, West Virginia answered with a run in the top of the third when Gonzalez scored from third on a balk after leading off the inning with a single.
The Thundering Herd got the run back in the bottom half of the third on an RBI double to cut the WVU advantage back to one, at 3-2. However, the Mountaineers again got the run back in the fourth, when Gonzalez hit a ground rule double to left-center that scored sophomore designated hitter Braden Zarbnisky
After Strowd got a caught-stealing to help him get out of the fourth, West Virginia scored another run in the fifth on Davis’ home run to left field.
Marshall scored two in the bottom of the fifth, to cut the West Virginia lead to 5-4. Two runs scored on a walk, one hit and an error, but the home team could not get any closer and tie the game.
As they did the first two times Marshall scored, the Mountaineers again responded with two runs in the top of the sixth to extend the lead back to three, at 7-4. After freshman second baseman Kyle Gray
walked, Gonzalez continued his hot day at the plate with his home run to left field.
Troutt followed with a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the sixth, and he stranded a runner in the seventh and shut down Marshall in order in the eighth.
West Virginia added an insurance run in the ninth inning on Hill’s groundout that scored sophomore third baseman Cole Austin
Troutt finished off the game in the ninth, allowing just one single, to secure his first career win.
Up next, West Virginia travels to Kansas State from April 21-23. The series begins on Friday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. ET. Saturday’s first pitch is set for 5 p.m., and the series finale in Manhattan, Kansas, will begin at 1 p.m. Links to live streams, radio broadcasts and live stats for all three games can be found on the baseball schedule page on WVUsports.com.
West Virginia improves to 22-13 on the season and 12-10 on the road … The Mountaineers have won nine of their last 12 games … WVU improved to 45-24 all-time against Marshall and has won the season series for the second consecutive season and 15 of the last 18 games between the in-state foes … A near-capacity crowd of 4,217 fans were in attendance at Appalachian Power Park … Ivan Gonzalez
led the team with four hits, three RBIs and three runs scored and was a triple shy of the cycle … Riley Troutt
earned his first career win, pitching the final 5.0 innings and allowing no runs on four hits with four strikeouts and no walks … Starter Kade Strowd
allowed three runs on five hits with three strikeouts and four walks in 4.0 innings.
Single game tickets, flex plan tickets and mini packs for the 2017 WVU baseball season are on sale now. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-WVU GAME, going to WVUGAME.com
or visiting the Mountaineer Ticket Office in the WVU Coliseum. The 2017 schedule is available on WVUsports.com