College baseball is underway across the country as a lot of teams saw their first game action this past weekend.
For West Virginia (2-1), the team traveled to Charleston, South Carolina to take on Charleston Southern University (1-2) at Joe Riley Park in a three-game series.
The Buccaneers won the first game of the series on Friday, taking advantage of a couple WVU errors, but the Mountaineers bounced back on Saturday and Sunday, winning both games in shutout fashion.
Pitching led the way for West Virginia in the series as each of the three starting pitchers – Chad Donato, Ross Vance, and BJ Myers – all pitched at least five innings and none of the three allowed an earned run. Bot runs that were credited against Donato on Friday were unearned.
Offensively, the team has gotten contributions from up and down the lineup, boding well for the change in offensive game plan that head coach Randy Mazey has employed.
Mazey said prior to the season that his team won’t hit for as much power as they did last year, but instead will use an old-school brand of hitting that involves a lot of moving parts and pushing the envelope to take the extra base.
First baseman Jackson Cramer showed that there is still power in the lineup, when he hit a mammoth home run Friday afternoon that by some accounts may still have not landed.
Cramer reached base successfully in all three games of the series, raising his streak to 23-consecutive games dating back to last season. Fellow infielder Kyle Davis isn’t far behind him having reached base in 21-straight games.
West Virginia is a fairly young team this season, but the young players displayed their talent over the weekend as four freshmen – Cole Austin, Jimmy Galusky, Kyle Gray and Darius Hill – all recorded the first hits of their young careers.
WVU’s offense attempted to mount a comeback Friday, scoring two runs in the final inning but falling just short, losing 4-3 despite a solid outing from Donato.
Saturday the offense produced five runs, while Vance allowed just four hits in five innings of work and Brandon Boone struck out five batters during his three innings in relief. Three WVU pitchers combined for the 5-0 shutout victory.
Catcher Ray Guerrini led the way Saturday offensively, going 2-3 with a pair of RBI.
On Sunday the sophomore starter, Myers, nearly went the distance, pitching eight strong innings and allowing just five hits while striking out the same amount. Blake Smith picked up the save in the 3-0 win.
West Virginia heads west for its next weekend series, playing three games against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas starting Friday. UNLV dropped 2 out of 3 against Texas last weekend.
The team will stay west through Monday when they play an exhibition with the Arizona Diamondbacks. After that the Mountaineers will head to Hawaii for a four-game series with the Rainbow Warriors.