The West Virginia University baseball team scored four runs in the first inning and never looked back in a 7-1 win over Kennesaw State on Friday afternoon in the opening game of the Brittain Resorts Invitational at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
On a chilly, windy afternoon in the Mountaineers’ first of four games this weekend, the squad used an RBI single by junior catcher Paul McIntosh, RBI double by senior infielder Kevin Brophy and a two-run single by redshirt sophomore catcher Vince Ippoliti in the bottom of the first to build the early lead.
On the mound, junior left-handed pitcher Jackson Wolf was solid again, striking out eight in 7.0 innings. The Gahanna, Ohio, native allowed just one unearned run on six hits in the win. He improved to 2-0 on the young season.
“The team that scores first is usually going to win – the statistics back that up,” Mazey said. “It was a really, really good (first) inning and was indicative of our lineup. Guys at the top of the lineup get on base, they move runners and they steal bases. The guys in the middle are supposed to drive them in, and that’s what they did. That was a really good inning, and it set the tone for the whole game.”
WVU (4-1) finished with seven runs on 10 hits in its third consecutive win, while Kennesaw State’s line showed one run on seven hits. Both teams committed one error.
After the Mountaineers opened the scoring in the first, they added to their lead in the bottom of the third inning. First, sophomore infielder/outfielder Austin Davis singled home McIntosh, before sophomore infielder Tevin Tucker’s fielder’s choice scored freshman outfielder Victor Scott.
West Virginia led, 6-0.
From there, Wolf, the reigning Big 12 Pitcher of the Week, retired the Owls (3-2) in order in the fourth and sixth, before Kennesaw scored its lone run of the day in the seventh. Through two outings this season, Wolf has now tallied 16 strikeouts in 14.0 innings of work.
The Mountaineers added an insurance run in the eighth, when freshman infielder Dominic Ragazzo, who came on as a pinch runner, scored during a rundown between first and second base.
Out of the bullpen, sophomore left-handed pitcher Beau Lowery relieved Wolf, tossing two scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth to close the contest out for WVU. The Martinsburg, West Virginia, native allowed just hit in his season debut.
Davis finished 3-for-4 with an RBI in the win, while McIntosh and senior outfielder/right-handed pitcher Braden Zarbnisky each registered a pair of hits. Ippoliti’s two RBIs were his first as a Mountaineer.
Next up, West Virginia returns to action against Saint Joseph’s on Saturday, Feb. 22, at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark in Myrtle Beach. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. ET.