GAME RECAP: Illig, WVU bounce back at PNC Park - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

GAME RECAP: Illig, WVU bounce back at PNC Park

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By Chris Jackson

One day after a tough loss in Morgantown, the Mountaineers weathered the storm and ended their recent skid against Penn State.

Led by a pair of RBI’s from freshman catcher Chase Illig, West Virginia (28-20) bounced back with a 4-2 victory over Penn State (15-33) at Pittsburgh’s PNC Park on Wednesday evening, snapping a four-game losing streak to the Nittany Lions.

Illig, whose two RBI’s was a game-high, got the action started right from his first at-bat. His single to right field in the top of the second gave WVU a 1-0 lead and the advantage for good.

The freshman later added an RBI double in the fourth, extending the lead to 3-0. He finished with a 2-for-4 effort and was the only Mountaineer to record multiple hits.

Cole Austin and Braden Zarbnisky drove in WVU’s other two runs, with Austin’s coming on a sacrifice-fly in the fifth to make it 4-1 and Zarbnisky’s following a groundout in the third.

Penn State threatened WVU’s lead in the bottom of the eighth, scoring a run on a Christian Helsel single to cut the deficit to 4-2. The Nittany Lions eventually loaded the bases, providing a critical sequence for Zarbnisky, who would replace Cody Wood after 3.1 innings.

Zarbnisky got out of the jam and then retired the side in the ninth, recording his fourth save while not allowing a run or hit in 1.2 innings on the mound.

Freshman Sam Kessler made his second career start, lasting four innings and helping the Mountaineers maintain an early lead. In those four innings, he surrendered five hits and one earned run, which came in his final frame on a single from Ryan Sloniger.

WVU returns to action Friday for a three-game weekend series against Gardner-Webb in Morgantown, who is ranked 166th in the latest RPI compared to WVU’s No. 20 mark.

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