Baseball, WVU Sports

WVU blasts four home runs in taking down Cincinnati 5-4 to open series

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia went yard Friday … four times.

All of them were critical, as the Mountaineers held off Cincinnati 5-4 inside UC Baseball Stadium in the first of a three-game series.


Sam White hit two solo home runs, including one in the top of the sixth that proved to be the winning run. His first one came in the second inning that gave WVU (28-16, 15-7 Big 12) a 1-0 lead.

Wits its 15th conference victory, West Virginia tied its program-record for Big 12 wins set last season, when the Mountaineers finished in a three-way tie for the Big 12 championship.

Just 24 league games were played last season, but that expanded to 30 this season with Cincinnati, Houston and UCF joining the league.

WVU also matched Big 12-leading Oklahoma in conference wins, with the Sooners scheduled to play at Texas Tech late Friday.

Skylar King added a solo home run in the third inning that ricocheted off the scoreboard to give WVU a 2-0 lead.

For added measure Kyle West added a two-run home run in the sixth, his team-leading 12th of the season.

Cincinnati (25-21, 11-11) showed off some power, too.

Hunter Jessee hit a two-run home run in the fifth that gave the Bearcats a 3-2 lead.

That lead was erased with West’s home run that came after J.J. Wetherholt singled through the right side with one out. Wetherholt then stole second base, his first stolen base since Feb. 16 at the start of the season.

After Reed Chumley struck out, White blasted his second home run for a 5-3 lead.

The Bearcats added a run in the seventh, when Lauden Brooks’ single scored Jessee. Brooks then reached second and third on wild pitches, but WVU reliever Hambleton Oliver forced a groundout to end the inning.

Cincinnati had the tying run on third in the bottom of the ninth, but WVU reliever Carson Estridge got Brooks to fly out to right field to end the game.

It was Estridge’s third save of the season. He pitched 1 1/3 innings, allowed one hit and no runs.

Maxx Yehl picked up the win in relief.

White finished with three hits in the game to boost his average up to .323 on the season.

Game 2 of the series is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday, with WVU starting Derek Clark on the mound.