GRANVILLE — The West Virginia Black Bears’ bats caught fire against Mahoning Valley on Tuesday as they dominated in a 10-2 win.
For the first time this season, West Virginia looked at ease on the field and controlled the tempo through the game. The Black Bears defense kept the Scrappers off the board through nearly eight innings, while the offense earned four or more runs in two innings. With the win, the Black Bears sweep the series against the Scrappers.
Neither team came out of the gate with a bang as they both failed to score in the first inning. But in the bottom of the second, West Virginia’s offense found their spark. A solid hit by second baseman Kaeber Rog put him on second base, followed by an advance to third on a passed ball. The next at-bat, right fielder Jesse Pierce drove in Rog to give the Black Bears the first run of the game.
A succession of stolen bases by Pierce put him 90 feet from home before the Scrappers pitcher struck DH Jason Reinhardt with a pitch. With two Black Bears on the corners, center fielder Jason Thomas hit a deep ball to left field that cleared the wall and dropped into the Scrappers’ bullpen. Thomas’s homerun — his first of the season — cleared the bases with one out, though the Bears were unable to score again before ending the inning up 4-0.
The scoring trend continued into the third inning, as the Black Bears scored another run on a sacrifice fly ball. Rog recorded his first RBI of the evening with the sac-fly as McCoy scored from third.
Through the fourth inning, West Virginia unleashed a barrage of trips across home plate as they continued to take advantage of Mahoning Valley’s wild pitches. In the bottom of the fourth, five Black Bears scored as the entire order made an appearance during the inning to bring the score to 10-0.
Narrowly avoiding the shutout, the Scrappers finally managed to plate runners in the top of the eighth and ninth innings off relieving pitcher Trevor Tietz. However, their efforts were too little, too late, and the Black Bears closed the game with a final score of 10-2.
West Virginia’s pitching was not to be outshined tonight as starting pitcher Ethan Sund threw four shutout innings with two strikeouts. In his first start, Sund held the Scrappers to four hits through the first four innings while picking up the win. Kobe Robinson came out of the bullpen in the top of the fifth with a lights-out performance in his fourth appearance for the Black Bears.
Robinson held Mahoning Valley to just one hit as he retired the heart of the order in quick succession in the sixth. He finished the game with four strikeouts in his two innings pitched.
With this win, the Black Bears move to 2-3-2 on the season, in fourth place in the MLB Draft League. West Virginia will hit the road to take on the Trenton Thunder in a three-game series Wedneday-Friday.