By Ryan Decker
WINSTON-SALEM – Mountaineer shortstop Jimmy Galusky had just two home runs to his credit entering NCAA Tournament play Friday afternoon.
He doubled his season total in one game.
Galusky was one of two West Virginia (35-24) players to have a mutli-home run game as part of a record-setting day at the plate for the Mountaineers in what ended as a 9-1 victory over Maryland (37-22).
“When we get in these situations we play better,” Galusky said. “We get to a conference tournament we usually play better. It’s our first opportunity to play in something like this, and to come out on day one and do that, it’s pretty cool.”
Galusky’s home run, a solo blast, in the second inning gave WVU a 3-0 lead.
His long ball came just two batters after Kyle Davis put a no-doubt two-run home run over the left-field fence.
Davis homered in his next at bat in the fourth, becoming just the second different Mountaineer hitter to have a multi-home run game this year. His second blast gave WVU a four-run lead.
Davis finished the game 3-for-4 at the plate, adding a single in the sixth.
Galusky’s second long ball didn’t come until his final at bat in the eight inning, crushing a ball to one of the deepest parts of the park, another solo home run that gave WVU a 9-1 advantage.
“It’s not something I’m really used to,” Galusky said. “It’s a pretty exciting moment.”
Galusky and Davis were two of four WVU hitters to have multi-hit games.
In total, four Mountaineer hitters sent six baseballs over the fence. Four of the six round trippers were solo home runs. Ivan Gonzalez and Cole Austin joined Davis and Galusky as the long ball hitters.
Gonzalez’s solo shot in the third inning gave WVU a three-run lead.
Austin’s two-run blast in the fifth brought Darius Hill around to score, putting the Mountaineers ahead 7-1.
“It can work against you, it can work for you; today it just happened to work for us,” Davis said about the shallow dimensions in left and right field.
West Virginia did a majority of its damage against Maryland’s ace, and Golden Spikes Award semi-finalist Brian Shaffer.
“You play in that Big 12 Conference Tournament and you see a lot of really good pitching, and that prepared us pretty well for Shaffer,” WVU head coach Randy Mazey said. “We see good pitching in the Big 12, and we stand in there and grind out our at bats. I thought that’s what we did today.”
The six home runs in one NCAA Tournament game doubles the record previously set by the Mountaineers.
That run production would be more than enough for the Mountaineer pitching staff.
Freshman Alek Manoah got the start on the mound, but was pulled with the bases loaded in the fourth. Manoah pitched just 3.1 innings, and was responsible for the lone run surrendered. His biggest problem in the game was four hit by pitches, including two in the third that loaded the bases.
Manoah gave way to BJ Myers, who finished the game on the mound.
Myers gave up just four hits in his 5.2 innings of work, making quick work of the Terrapin hitters. He never faced more than four hitters in an inning, and pitched three 1-2-3 innings.
“I think that might be, I’m not sure, (Myers’) first relief appearance this year,” Mazey said. “Bringing him in out of the bullpen, I think, is just what he needed to attack hitters, and he really attacked them pretty well today. You throw strikes you win; and that’s what BJ does.”
West Virginia is back in action Saturday at 7 p.m., and will face the winner of Friday’s second game between Wake Forest and UMBC.