For the second week in a row the West Virginia Mountaineer baseball team (31-19) was going for the sweep in its three-game weekend series.
This time around it was visiting William & Mary (24-25) who was trying to avoid being swept on Sunday, after dropping both games of Friday’s double header.
WVU and its four seniors finished out the home portion of the regular season schedule with a bang, securing the series sweep with a 6-1 victory at Monongalia County Ballpark on a chilly afternoon Sunday.
The two teams were back in action Sunday after getting the day off Saturday, but neither the day off nor the cool temperatures could cool down the West Virginia bats, especially early on.
Each of West Virginia’s first two hitters reached base in the first inning, and then clean-up hitter Ivan Vera drove the two runners home on a double to right-center field. Three batters later, senior KC Huth drove in two more runs with his third double of the series, giving the Mountaineers an early 4-0 lead.
WVU tacked on another run with the bases loaded in the third as Jackson Cramer slid across home on a passed ball.
Cramer went 2-for-4 from the plate Sunday, finishing the series a combined 5-for-11 with five runs scored.
West Virginia, though, couldn’t take any further advantage of the good scoring opportunity, leaving two runners stranded in scoring position on a groundout that ended the inning.
The Mountaineers weren’t quite done scoring yet, though, adding another run in the fifth inning on Huth’s second double of the game. Ray Guerrini, who reached in the preceding at bat with a single, made it all the way around from first to score, sliding through the middle of Tribe catcher Hunter Smith’s legs to cross home plate.
Huth’s double gave West Virginia it’s largest lead of the series at 6-0.
Both Huth and Darius Hill ended play on Sunday 2-for-3.
Conner Dotson made his second start of the season Sunday, exactly one week after he helped the Mountaineers secure the series sweep versus Texas.
Despite not allowing any runs and only giving up four hits, Dotson lasted just five innings on the mound, due in large part to an inflated pitch count – 84 – and walking five batters.
Five relief pitchers went the rest of the way for Randy Mazey, none going longer than one inning on the mound.
The first of those relievers out of the pen was Jeff Hardy, making his thirteenth appearance on the season. He faced the minimum number of batters, inducing a pair of groundouts and a popup to Guerrini behind home plate on a failed bunt attempt.
BJ Myers came on to pitch the ninth inning, making his first appearance in a game since coming out of the bullpen against Marshall on April 27.
William & Mary, which had numerous scoring chances throughout the game, finally scratched across a run in the top of the eighth inning on a sac fly by Smith. But it was too little too late for W&M.
As a team, the Tribe were just 1-for-13 with runners on base, and were 0-for-8 hitting with runners in scoring position.
William & Mary got a runner to second base in each of the first five innings, but could not advance the runner any further in any of those innings.
The victory marked the ninth win in a row for the Mountaineers, and the 12th victory in their last 13 contests.
Coming up for West Virginia is a game Tuesday on the road against Pittsburgh, and then the last weekend series of the regular season in Lubbock against Big 12 leading Texas Tech.
WVU is vying for a Top 3 seed in the Big 12 Championship. The Mountaineers currently sit a ½-game behind TCU for third place in the conference standings, but have a four-game lead in the loss column over Oklahoma.