The West Virginia University baseball team earned a 6-0 win over Mercer on Friday, March 6, at OrthoGeorgia Park in Macon, Georgia.
In the opening game of the two schools’ three-game series, the Mountaineers won their fourth game in a row and recorded their second consecutive shutout and third on the year. Junior left-handed pitcher Jackson Wolf continued his strong start to the season, tossing 6.1 innings of scoreless baseball, allowing just four hits and one walk, while striking out seven.
The Gahanna, Ohio native earned the win, improving his season record to 3-1.
West Virginia, which scored in the first inning for the fourth straight game, finished with six runs on 11 hits, while the Bears tallied no runs on five hits.
“It sure puts me in a good mood when we score first,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “We’ve scored a lot of runs in the first inning, and I think when we jiggled the lineup around, we started to drive more guys in and get a lead. That really helps pitching to go attack the zone.”
WVU (9-4) once again wasted no time getting started on Friday. Junior infielder Tyler Doanes plated redshirt senior outfielder Braden Zarbnisky with an RBI groundout to make it 1-0 in the top of the first. From there, the Mountaineers added a second run, thanks to a fielding error that scored redshirt sophomore catcher/designated hitter Vince Ippoliti.
On the mound, Wolf cruised through the first two frames, before allowing his first hit of the night to the Bears (11-2) in the bottom of the third. The hit snapped WVU’s streak of 13 no-hit innings for Mountaineer pitchers. Still, Wolf held the hosts scoreless.
The Mountaineers added to their lead in the fifth. After Zarbnisky was hit by a pitch, sophomore outfielder/infielder Austin Davis doubled to deep center, scoring Zarbnisky all the way from first. That gave WVU a 3-0 advantage.
Wolf retired eight of the final nine batters he faced before turning things over to sophomore right-handed pitcher Zach Ottinger out of the bullpen. The Marietta, Georgia, native went on to strike out two in the seventh, before he also worked a scoreless eighth.
In the Mountaineer eighth, sophomore infielder Ryan Archibald came on as a pinch hitter to lead off the inning, smacking his first career home run to make it 4-0. Later, freshman outfielder Victor Scott’s single to left scored freshman catcher/infielder Matt McCormick, who got on base with a two-out double.
WVU scored its sixth run of the night on the base paths in the top of the ninth, as Doanes swiped second base, while Zarbnisky stole home. That led to redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Haden Erbe’s WVU debut in the bottom of the ninth. Erbe needed just eight pitches to get the final three outs.
Zarbnisky finished 2-for-3 with three runs scored and four stolen bases, marking his 10th multi-hit performance of the season. Scott also tallied a pair of hits and an RBI in the win.
WVU hasn’t allowed a run in 26 consecutive innings, dating back to a 13-1 win over Richmond on March 1.
“We’re just trying to do it one pitch at a time,” Mazey said. “If they happen to put zeros up, that’s a great result from the process. We’re going to try to come out and get the first guy out tomorrow.”
Up next, the Mountaineers take on Mercer in the second of the three-game, weekend series on Saturday, March 7. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. ET.