Mountaineers thump Morehead 13-5
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One losing streak had to end, and luckily for the fans in attendance at Appalachian Power Park on Monday, it was West Virginia's.
The Mountaineers overcame some shaky starting pitching, capitalized on five Morehead State errors and rode their offense to a 13-5 win, snapping a two-game skid against the Eagles over the past two years. Both games were in Charleston.
Jacob Rice had two hits and scored three runs for West Virginia and the Morehead State miscues combined with five walks and four hit batters contributed to the large offensive output. The Eagles actually held a 9-8 advantage in hits.
The Eagles, who have now lost 13 games in a row, could nary afford to make mental mistakes, but two hit batters, a walk and an error in the second inning led to four West Virginia runs and the Mountaineers were off and running.
For players like former Nitro standout Matt Frazer, finally getting over the Eagles in any fashion was satisfying.
"Finally - they've gave us some fits the last few times we've played them," Frazer said. "But tonight - great weather, great atmosphere, and we came out and swung the bats and got the job done."
Frazer laced an RBI double to right-center field to score Ryan McBroom in the second inning to give the Mountaineers a 2-0 lead. He later added a sacrifice fly.
All in all, West Virginia scored in six of its eight innings and scored more than one run five times.
Meanwhile, freshman starter Brock Dykxhoorn scuffled in his two innings for WVU, walking four and giving up two hits before being pulled with two on and no outs in the third inning.
Despite his struggles, the Eagles couldn't scratch out a run off Dykxhoorn, and reliever Ryan Tezak got the Mountaineers out of the jam unscathed.
Six relievers combined to finish the game for WVU, with Tezak picking up the win after tossing two innings of hitless shutout ball and yielding just a walk.
While the use of so many pitchers may seem like a negative, West Virginia coach Randy Mazey said it was something WVU needed heading into a Big 12 weekend series at Texas.
"The starting pitching has been doing really well lately, and when that happens the guys in the bullpen don't get near as much action as they should," Mazey said. "This was a good night. We threw six or seven guys tonight and that keeps everybody fresh as the season progresses."
The Mountaineers (21-17 overall, 4-5 Big 12) will begin the three-game set at Texas at 8 p.m. on Friday. The Longhorns are 4-8 in the league and 19-15 overall.
West Virginia will be traveling into uncharted territory when it finds itself in the home of one of college baseball's truly elite programs.
Texas has the highest all-time winning percentage of any NCAA Division I program (.740), ranks second in all-time wins (3,246) and holds College World Series records in appearances (34) and games won (82).
The Longhorns also have six national championship banners to their credit.
"I'm kind of glad that our guys from up here don't know much about the Texas tradition because they use that to their advantage," Mazey said. "You get down there and you get a little bit in awe of the surroundings and the tradition and you don't play as well because of it. But our guys, that doesn't matter much to them. We're just going to go down there and have a good practice on Thursday night. We're ahead of them in the standings so they're really going to be gunning for us."
Frazer is also well aware of the mystique awaiting his team this weekend.
"That's going to be the biggest weekend of our careers," Frazer said.
Michael Constantini added a pinch-hit two-run double for the Mountaineers and former Kennedy Award winner and Magnolia standout Justin Fox drove in a pair and scored two runs for WVU.
Tyler Sears and Chase Greenwell each had two hits to lead Morehead State (9-28).
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.