By Ryan Decker
West Virginia (8-7) entered Saturday’s contest against Old Dominion (10-4) trying to end its 12-day road drip on a positive note prior to the team’s upcoming home opener Tuesday.
The Monarchs had other ideas, sending the Mountaineers back to the Mountain State with a sour taste in their mouths.
A five-run bottom of the eighth inning for ODU put a once-close game completely out of reach in a 7-4 defeat of WVU.
For the seventh time this season, West Virginia’s opponent scored first.
Old Dominion scored a run in the first inning on a fielder’s choice as each of the first three Monarchs hitters reached base.
ODU added another run in the third on a single by Vinnie Pasquantino, allowing Cory Alexander to score from second base.
Pasquantino finished the game 4 for 5 at the plate and also collected three RBI.
The opponent being first on the board has not been a good omen for the Mountaineers. WVU is now 2-5 in such games.
West Virginia cut the deficit in half with a run in the seventh inning, but Old Dominion’s offense came through for a big inning in the eighth.
Five runs came around to score in the frame, four with two outs, and all were unearned. West Virginia needed five pitchers to get through the inning as the Monarchs batted around.
Pasquantino doubled with two outs two bring two runners home to score, and then touched home himself after the ensuing at bat to give Old Dominion a 6-1 lead.
Mountaineer starting pitcher Conner Dotson pitched fairly well, going five full innings and allowing two runs on just three hits. He also struck out three.
His outing was cut short, though, based on an inflated pitch count due to a trio of walks.
Offensively, West Virginia was heavily limited for the first eight innings, only scoring a lone run on a two-out since by Cole Austin to drive in Darius Hill, who doubled to reach base in the seventh.
Austin and Hill were the only Mountaineer hitters to reach base twice.
WVU attempted to mount a comeback in the ninth.
Austin collected his second RBI of the game, and then he and Hill scored on a throwing error with two outs by the Monarch second baseman.
West Virginia returns home to Monongalia County Ballpark for the home opener Tuesday against Morehead State You can listen to complete coverage of that game, and all Mountaineer home games on 91.7 FM, or at u92.wvu.edu.