Baseball, WVU Sports

WVU blasts six home runs to power past Penn State

GRANVILLE — West Virginia took a flight out of Kendrick Family Ballpark on Wednesday.

To where? Well, that answer can only be best described by 1950s fictional TV character Ralph Kramden, “To the moon!”

The Mountaineers’ lineup hit some real moon shots — six of them in all — to run away with an 18-7 victory against Penn State.

J.J. Wetherholt hit one onto the top of the coaches’ office in right field. It was the longest of the night at 439 feet.

Brodie Kresser’s grand slam in the first inning hit off the TV truck parked out beyond center field, a shot measured at 426 feet.

Reed Chumley took one off the top of the scoreboard to lead off the second inning, a 427-foot blast.

You get the picture. Penn State (21-21) sure did, as WVU’s 18 runs were the most it’s ever scored against the Nittany Lions in a series that dates back to 1904.

The only thing missing was someone knocking a shot off a bull to win a free steak dinner.

“You live and die by the homer with this team,” WVU head coach Randy Mazey said. “What did we have, six homers today? I’ll take that every day.”

How much distance did the Mountaineers (29-18) actually cover? Their six home runs — one off the school record — traveled 2,447 feet in total, or about 815 yards.

That’s 29 more yards than the Penn State and WVU football teams combined for in last year’s season opener.

“I think that may have been my first grand slam in college,” said Kresser, who also added three singles in a 4-for-4 performance that saw him drive in five runs and score four times. “I needed that. I’ve kind of been in a slump and couldn’t buy a hit these last couple of games. It felt good.”

It all began with Logan Sauve’s solo home run (it went 402 feet) to begin the game.

By the time the first inning ended, WVU had hit three home runs and taken an 8-0 lead.

Chumley and Sam White went back-to-back with solo home runs to begin the second inning and the search through the school record books was on.

Turns out the Mountaineers, who host Kansas State in a three-game series that begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday, came up just one dinger short of the school mark, although this game was stopped in the seventh inning due to the mercy rule.

WVU’s seven home run game came against Duquesne in 1997. It was the ninth time in program history the Mountaineers hit six in one game.

This performance came with absolutely no wind to help the balls stay in the air a bit longer.

“I think the reason this isn’t an easy park to hit home runs in is because the wind is swirling a lot,” said Wetherholt, who also added a double and single. “With no wind, it’s just a normal park and the ball carries. We have enough power, pretty much all of us, to get it out at all fields. When there is wind blowing in one direction, it can kill homers. Actually, no wind is perfect with me.”

WVU’s 18 runs tied a season high, and it came on 18 hits.

Freshman Chase Meyer earned his first college win. He allowed four hits and five runs over 2 2/3 innings. He struck out five, but also walked five.

“We needed some guys to start swinging the bat offensively, so it was good to see that,” Mazey said.