WVU Baseball Sweeps Gardner-Webb - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

WVU Baseball Sweeps Gardner-Webb

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WVU baseball coach Randy Mazey hugs Jackson Cramer after his walk-off home run to beat No. 16 Oklahoma State. WVU baseball coach Randy Mazey hugs Jackson Cramer after his walk-off home run to beat No. 16 Oklahoma State.

Written by: Samuel Donato

The West Virginia University baseball team seniors were sent off with a two-game series sweep against Gardner-Webb. The first game of the series on Friday was cancelled due to inclement weather in the area, but were able to get a 15-5 victory on Saturday followed by a 4-3 victory on Sunday. 

First baseman Jackson Cramer, right-handed reliever Jackson Sigman, and student manager JT Heenan were the three seniors who were honored before Sunday’s contest. Cramer led the team with two hits while Sigman pitched 1.1 scoreless innings. 

Despite being out hit 10-7, the Mountaineers (30-20) were able to capture their third straight win and the series sweep after Sunday’s matchup. West Virginia pitchers left 10 GWU runners on base to hold the team to just three runs. Freshman right-hander Alex Manoah started on the mound for the Mountaineers, earning his first career win. In 5.2 innings pitched, Manoah struck out a career-best seven batters and only allowed one run off six hits.

“You can have all of the pretty losses you want in May, I’ll take an ugly win any day of the week, because we need them,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “Games like this, where you don’t execute all that great, you need to win those games. So thank goodness for Zarb (Braden Zarbnisky). That guy is hitting .342. Now he has five wins and five saves. If there’s a more valuable player on any team in the Big 12 than what that guy has been to us, I’d like to know who he is.”

Back-to-back singles opened up the bottom of the first inning for the Mountaineers before Darius Hill singled with one out and bases loaded to bring in two runs. West Virginia was up 2-0 after the first inning. 

Manoah struck out three straight in the second, but gave up a run in the third after an RBI double for Gardner-Webb. The third inning ended after a groundout. 

There wasn’t much action until the sixth inning as the Mountaineers were leading 2-1. West Virginia went hitless up until this point. After a sacrifice fly by junior left fielder Kyle Davis, the Mountaineers were able to bring in a run off it to extend the lead to 3-1.

Gardner-Webb was in position to bring in runs in the top of the seventh as they had two on with two outs. However, Sigman entered the game and was able to get a groundout to end it. West Virginia was able to bring in a run in the bottom of the inning, which made it the eventual game winner. Freshman catcher Chase Illig was first at bat where he got on first off a single, was able to advance to third on an error, and was brought home on Gray’s groundout. Heading into the eighth, West Virginia had the lead 4-1.

Freshman reliever Kade Strowd came in at the top of the eighth, giving up two runs to make it a 4-3 ball game. The first two batters were able to reach base, which was followed by a wild pitch and one run coming home. The Runnin’ Bulldogs were able to score the team’s third run off a sacrifice fly, but it was followed by two outs to keep the Mountaineers ahead, 4-3.

Zarbinsky came in for the ninth, earning the save after allowing a leadoff double but striking out the next three batters to preserve the win.

The Mountaineers close their home slate on Tuesday, May 16, against rival Pitt at Monongalia County Ballpark. First pitch of the Backyard Brawl is set for 6:30 p.m. ET. The game is a gold rush, and all fans are encouraged to wear gold. Additionally, fans can play baseball bingo and win WVU prizes. WVU beat the Panthers in Pittsburgh earlier this year, 8-4.

Tickets are available at 1-800-WVU GAME, WVUGAME.com or on gameday at Monongalia County Ballpark.

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