GRANVILLE — It was a night of what-ifs and frustration for the West Virginia Black Bears on July 9, at Monongalia County Ballpark.
In front of a crowd of 1,676, manager Kieran Mattison was ejected by home plate umpire Roberto Patterson in the second inning when an Auburn Doubledays runner was called safe at first base on a close play, which allowed a run to score. It was his first ejection of the season and set the tone for the remainder of the game, which ended in a 6-5 Auburn win.
Players and coaches were not made available for interviews after the game.
Missed opportunities cost the Black Bears (10-14) late. They pulled within a run, 5-4, in the sixth inning when second baseman Robbie Glendinning cleared the bases with a two-out, three-run triple.
Travis Swaggerty couldn’t bring home Glendinning, though, flying out to center to end the inning.
West Virginia was able to tie it, 5-5, in the eighth inning when Raul Siri blooped a ground-rule double down the left field line, scoring Connor Kaiser and a advancing Jhoan Herrera to third with no outs.
However, the Black Bears could not get the go-ahead run in — Zach Susi struck out, followed by a ground out to a drawn in infield by Glendinning. Swaggerty was intentionally walked and Daniel Amaral grounded out to first.
Auburn’s (14-9) Cody Wilson made West Virginia pay in the top of the 9th, driving in Jacob Rhinesmith with an RBI double off pitcher Conner Loeprich for the winning run. Loeprich was tagged with the loss.
Starting pitcher Aaron Shortridge gave up two runs in four innings. One of those runs was on a mammoth home run by Auburn’s Pablo O’Connor that sailed out of the ballpark and onto University Town Centre Drive, striking two vehicles before coming to a stop in the lawn in front of the Courtyard by Marriott.
Ryan Valdes pitched two innings of relief for the Black Bears and gave up three runs — two earned.
Tanner Driskill blew the save in the 8th inning for the Doubledays but subsequently earned the win after polishing off the 9th with a 1–2-3 frame.
Glendinning finished with a game-high three RBIs, while Kaiser and Siri drove in the other two runs.
Monday’s loss ends a 6-game homestand, which the Black Bears finished 3-3. West Virginia will head on the road after an off day today to face Hudson Valley in a three-game series that begins Wednesday.
It will be the first meeting this season against the Renegades.
The Black Bears will return home July 16 against State College and it will be the debut of the Moonshiners theme, which will last all three games of the series.