By Ryan Decker
After back-to-back games of slow starts offensively, the West Virginia Mountaineers (7-4) made sure they jumped on top early in a big way.
A four-run first inning set the tone for the WVU hitters, and gave starting pitcher Conner Dotson more than enough insurance on the hill.
Kyle Davis had a big day at the plate, going 3 for 5 with five runs batted in and leading West Virginia to its seventh win of the year, a 18-5 victory over Tulane (3-8) to end a two-game losing streak.
WVU scored each of its four runs in the opening inning with two outs.
Cole Austin stayed hot with a single to get the scoring started. Marques Inman followed with a two-run double, and shortstop Jimmy Galusky singled home Inman from second in the ensuing at bat.
Tulane’s Jeremy Montalbano cut the Green Wave’s deficit in half with a two-run home run to center field.
Not wanting to be outdone, Austin homered in the top of the third inning. However, the ball he put in play never left the yard, as the blooper to right field got past the outfield and rolled all the way to the wall, allowing Austin to run all the way around.
It was the sophomore’s third home run of the year, and gave WVU a 5-2 lead.
Four more runners came around to touch home in the five-run third. Inman scored on a botched pickoff attempt by Tulane starting pitcher Ross Massey, and Galusky scored on a single by Ivan Gonzalez.
Two hitters later, Davis doubled down the left field line, driving in two to give West Virginia a 9-2 advantage.
Davis’ double knocked Massey out of the game. All nine runs were credited to Massey, who lasted just 2.1 innings, giving up eight hits and walking three.
Tulane answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the frame, but Dotson was able to gather himself, and pitch out of the bases loaded jam.
With a run already in in the inning, Davis doubled again in the fourth, driving in two more runners.
Davis led the charge, as he and the Mountaineers clubbed nine extra-base hits in the game. The junior was 7 for 15 with four doubles and eight RBI in the series.
Five WVU hitters also had multi-hit games, including Galusky, who was a perfect 3 for 3 at the plate, scoring three times and driving in three runs on a pair of doubles.
All nine starters reached base at least once.
Dotson settled down on the mound after giving up runs in the second and third. He pitched consecutive 1-2-3 frames in the fourth and fifth, and ended the game with a total of seven strikeouts, five looking.
Riley Troutt pitched well in relief for head coach Randy Mazey, pitching three innings and giving up just one run on three hits out of the pen.
A single by Darius Hill in the sixth extended his hitting streak to 13 games, dating back to last season.
Isaiah Kearns, who will normally be used as a pitcher for the Mountaineers, entered the game as a pinch hitter and hit a home run to center field in the ninth for the second hit in his career
The Mountaineers scored runs in six innings, and tallied five multi-run innings.
With the win, West Virginia matches its record through 11 games from a season ago.