Baseball, WVU Sports

WVU splits series with Stetson, J.J. Wetherholt injured

MORGANTOWN — After four curious games to start the season, the WVU baseball team left DeLand, Fla. even-steven, but with an injury concern for star J.J. Wetherholt.

The Mountaineers split a doubleheader on Monday with Stetson at Melching Field at Conrad Park, wrapping up a four-game series in which both teams won twice.

Wetherholt, the nation’s leading hitter last season with a .449 batting average, was subbed for in the bottom of the first inning of the second game after scoring a run on a throwing error in the top of the inning.

WVU posted to social media Wetherholt was being evaluated, but nothing else has been made available.

The Mountaineers lost the first game of the doubleheader 5-4 on a walk-off double from Jayden Hylton that scored Lorenzo Meola for the winning run against WVU pitcher Hambleton Oliver.

It was Stetson’s second walk-off win of the series. Meola hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning on Saturday to win that game 7-5.

WVU (2-2) bounced back with a 7-5 victory in the second game, but it came at a price with Wetherholt’s injury.

The Mountaineers won the game in the top of ninth with two runs that scored on a sacrifice bunt from Ellis Garcia.

With one out and pinch runner Armani Guzman on third and Benjamin Lumsden on second, Garcia bunted back to the pitcher, as both runners broke on the play.

Guzman scored easily, but Lumsden also came around to score as Garcia was thrown out at first base. Garcia picked up two RBIs on the play. He had three for the game without recording a hit.

Gavin Van Kempen earned the win in the second game in relief. He pitched the final two innings, allowed one run and struck out Meola to end the game.

As for Wetherholt, he batted .308 in the series and led the Mountaineers with five runs scored and three stolen bases.

Lumsden, a transfer from UT Arlington, led WVU with a .353 average. He hit the game-winning home run in the first game in the bottom of the ninth inning.

WVU will travel to Charlotte at 4 p.m. Friday to begin a three-game series.