The West Virginia University baseball team fell to VCU, 4-1, in the opening game of the Central Virginia Challenge, at The Diamond in Richmond, Virginia, on Friday.
With the game scoreless, the Mountaineers allowed four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning, which proved to be the difference in the squad’s first of three games in the Old Dominion this weekend. VCU finished with four runs on seven hits, while WVU tallied one run on six hits. The Rams committed three errors, to WVU’s none.
Sophomore infielder/outfielder Austin Davis got West Virginia (5-4) started in the top of the first, recording a single up the middle. After junior infielder Tyler Doanes also reached base, WVU had runners on second and third with one out, before the Rams got out of the early jam without harm.
Junior left-handed pitcher Jackson Wolf got off to another good start in his third start of the campaign, registering a pair of strikeouts in the bottom of the first. The Gahanna, Ohio, native didn’t allow a hit until the sixth inning.
In the top of the sixth, the Mountaineers again looked to get something brewing. First, Doanes reached on an infield hit and eventually advanced all the way to third on a failed pick-off attempt.
However, WVU couldn’t drive the Fayetteville, Georgia, native in, keeping the game scoreless.
Then, the Rams (6-3) engineered their big inning, scoring four runs on five hits to take a 4-0 lead. Freshman right-handed pitcher Skylar Gonzalez grabbed the final two outs of the frame after relieving Wolf, who suffered his first loss of the year.
Wolf’s final line showed three runs on three hits in 5.1 innings pitched. He struck out four and walked two, as his record dropped to 2-1 on the year.
Trailing, 4-0, the Mountaineers were able to grab a run in the top of the ninth when freshman outfielder Tyler DeMartino drove in sophomore infielder Ryan Archibald, cutting the deficit to three. That, however, was all WVU could muster in the setback.
Six different Mountaineers tallied hits in the loss. Along with Wolf and Gonzalez, redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Dillon Meadows also entered the contest, tossing two scoreless frames while striking out four.
Next up, the Mountaineers return to action for the second game of the Central Virginia Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 29. WVU travels to William & Mary for a 2 p.m. ET, first pitch at the Tribe’s Plumeri Park in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The contest marks the second consecutive year West Virginia and William & Mary meet. WVU won a series over William & Mary last season, taking two of three games on the road from March 16-17, 2019.