Sophomore right-handed pitcher Ryan Bergert of the West Virginia University baseball team struck out a career-high 14 batters in 8.0 innings of work in the Mountaineers’ 5-1 win over Saint Joseph’s on Saturday afternoon at the Brittain Resorts Invitational at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The strikeout total was the most by a Mountaineer pitcher since Nick Snyder punched out 16 on April 30, 2019, against Marshall. Bergert allowed just one run on two hits in his impressive outing, conceding just one walk and a hit batter.
“He gets better on the field because of what he does off the field,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said of Bergert. “He’s the guy that gets the most sleep, he eats the best, he works out the best, he does really well in school, so, that translates. You can’t be an overachiever off the field and be an underachiever on the field, and he’s just an overachiever all the way around. That’s why he’s gotten better.”
West Virginia scored five runs on five hits, while St. Joe’s tallied one run on three hits. With the win, the Mountaineers have won four consecutive games.
WVU (5-1) opened the scoring in the top of the second inning with a solo home run off the bat of junior catcher Paul McIntosh to make it 1-0. From there, the Mountaineers added on in the fourth inning when freshman catcher/infielder Matt McCormick doubled down the left-field line, scoring junior infielder Tyler Doanes. The speedy second baseman began the inning with a leadoff triple.
Bergert, meanwhile, didn’t allow a hit until the bottom of the fifth inning. He went on to hold the Hawks (2-4) off the scoreboard in seven of his eight frames. The Canton, Ohio, native struck out the side in the first inning and retired the St. Joseph’s offense in order four times.
St. Joe’s was able to make it a one-run game in the bottom of the seventh with a solo homer to right. That made it 2-1.
From there, the Hawks got the tying run to second base with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning, before Bergert finished his day with a pair of strikeouts.
West Virginia added three insurance runs in the top of the ninth, thanks to McIntosh’s RBI fielder’s choice and a sacrifice bunt off the bat of senior infielder Kevin Brophy, which scored two runs to make it 5-1.
“Kevin has been around for a long time – he’s just a Mountaineer,” Mazey said. “He’ll do whatever it takes for us to win games.
“So far in his season year, he’s really taken on a leadership role, trying to teach younger guys. There is no guy I’d rather have at the plate with a game on the line when it comes to being unselfish.”
With the four-run advantage, sophomore right-handed pitcher Zach Ottinger closed out the game with a scoreless ninth inning.
Doanes and McCormick each finished with a pair of hits on the day, while McIntosh registered two RBIs in the victory.
The Mountaineers conclude the Brittain Resorts Invitational with two games on Sunday. First, WVU takes on Illinois at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark in Myrtle Beach at 10 a.m., before the squad travels to nearby Conway, South Carolina, for a 4 p.m., contest at Coastal Carolina.