Another quality start from freshman righty Tyler Stretchay helped keep Liberty scoreless as the West Virginia Mountaineers earned their 11th win of the season over the Flames, 7-0.
Stretchay earned his second win of the season, lasting 5.0 innings on the mound to allow just 2 hits and strike out 3 batters.
“That’s a couple of midweek games in a row now that Stretchay has gone out there and pitched really well,” said WVU coach Randy Mazey. “He’s kind of settling in a little bit to that role, he’s getting a little bit better as he’s doing it, I thought his stuff today was better than it was last midweek game, so it’s encouraging that he’s getting a little bit better as we go.”
West Virginia got on base early, with leadoff hitter Braden Zarbnisky taking a walk to start their offensive game. That would be the beginning of a rough outing for Mason Hand, who gave up 5 runs on 6 hits in just 4.0 innings.
Zarbnisky struck again just an inning later, sending Paul McIntosh home to put the first run on the board with an RBI single. Austin Davis, the following batter, was then walked with the bases loaded to set Tyler Doanes up for a sacrifice fly, scoring Alec Burns.
“It’s so much easier to pitch with a lead, you know, with Zarbnisky and Austin Davis and Doanes setting the table, and now we’ve got guys driving them in,” Mazey said.
While that three-run inning was enough for a Mountaineer victory, they didn’t stop there. Matt McCormick added to the score in the fifth inning with an RBI single of his own, scoring Vince Ippoliti. Zarbnisky and Davis would each add an RBI in the eighth to top their team off.
Skylar Gonzalez relieved Stretchay in the fifth for a batter, starting off another strong showing from the WVU bullpen. Dillon Meadows, Madison Jeffrey and Noah Short each gave an inning of work, giving up a hit each to keep the Flames scoreless.
At the plate, Davis led the Mountaineers with 3 hits in 4 at-bats, including a double — the only extra-base hit of the day for West Virginia. Matt McCormick was perfect in the batter’s box, hitting 2-for-2 with 2 walks.
West Virginia now improves to an 11-5 record with 14 consecutive wins in home, midweek games; a streak which dates back to last season.
The Mountaineers set off to Lubbock, Texas to start their Big 12 campaign against the second-ranked Texas Tech Red Raiders. That three-game series begins on Friday and will last from March 13-15 at TTU’s Rip Griffin Park.