By Ryan Decker
Freshman Isaiah Kearns made his first career start in a West Virginia uniform count Thursday night.
Kearns pitched well, not surrendering a hit until fifth inning, which was the only hit he’d allow in over five innings of shut-out pitching on the mound to earn his first career win.
While Kearns was silencing the Colonels bats, the West Virginia (6-2) offense had one of its best performances of the young season, scoring eight runs on 14hits in the 8-1 win, counting for the club’s sixth straight.
Kearns retired Nicholls (4-5) in order in each of the first four innings, pitching very efficiently.
He finished the game with five strikeouts, four coming in the first four frames.
Meanwhile, the West Virginia hitters could not be kept off the bases.
Leading by a run heading into the fourth inning, Marques Inman and Chase Illig each legged out triples, Illig’s long drive to center easily allowing Inman to score.
TJ Lake added a double to drive in Illig to put the Mountaineers ahead 3-0.
But WVU wasn’t done.
West Virginia added two more runs in the frame, using small ball to drive in both runners, to jump out to a five-run advantage.
Two innings later, Jackson Cramer belted a two-run home run over the fence in right field; his second long ball of the year.
Cramer finished the game 2 for 4 and also drew a walk.
Kearns surrendered his first hit in the fifth, a double to Kyle Knauth, who the Pennsylvania-native wouldn’t allow to make it any further, stranding him in scoring position.
A two-out walk in the sixth was Kearns’ final batter he would see, lasting 5.2 innings on the mound.
A combination of Kade Strowd, Ryan McDonald, and Alek Manoah completed the remainder of the game for the Mountaineers.
It was both McDonald and Strowd’s second appearances on the season. For Manoah, it was his third appearance of the regular season, registering a pair of strikeouts.
Cramer was one of four Mountaineer batters to have multi-hit performances. Darius Hill’s 2 for 5 game keeps him as the team-leader in average, and also extends his hitting streak to 10 straight games dating back to last season.
Brandon White drove in a pair of runs in the game. Jimmy Galusky went 2 for 4 and also scored twice.
West Virginia continues its 12-day road trip tomorrow, beginning a three-game series against Tulane.