Big East

Grove Leads WVU to Sixth Straight Win

May 10, 2016

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team extended its winning streak to six games with a 4-1 victory against Maryland on a rainy Tuesday evening at Monongalia County Ballpark.

In a game that was delayed by nearly an hour due to rain, 1,404 fans saw the Mountaineers (28-19) score four unanswered runs to back up a strong start by freshman right-hander Michael Grove. It was WVU’s ninth win in its last 10 games.

“We’re feeling pretty confident,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “Everyone in the dugout feels like we’re going to win every game. We’re starting to really get comfortable in this park, swinging the bat well. We’re playing with confidence. Everything’s a process, nothing in this sport happens overnight, so I think we’re settled in and playing pretty well lately.”

Grove, who earned his second win of the season, held the Terrapins (25-22) to one run on six hits in 6.2 innings. He tied a career high with 13 strikeouts, tied for the most by a Big 12 pitcher this season. Grove walked just three.

Offensively, it was junior first baseman Jackson Cramer leading the charge again. He recorded his sixth multi-hit game in the last seven contests with a two-hit, one RBI day. Cramer hit his seventh home run of the season with a solo shot in the fourth inning, the eventual game-winning run.
Freshman third baseman Ivan Vera, who also is swinging a hot bat, added a hit and drove in two runs, while fellow freshman Darius Hill added two hits and a run scored. Freshman second baseman Kyle Gray had a hit and an RBI.

Grove was matched by Maryland right-hander Hunter Parsons, who held the Mountaineers to one earned run on three hits with six strikeouts in 6.0 innings.

However, WVU benefited from three Maryland errors to score two unearned runs, one in the fourth and one in the eighth.

The scoring got underway in the fourth inning. The Terrapins used a leadoff walk and a stolen base to put a runner in scoring position before a single gave Maryland a 1-0 lead.

The advantage was short-lived though, as the Mountaineers answered right back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Hill reached on a fielding error to lead off the inning. He stole second, advanced to third on a balk and scored on Vera’s sacrifice fly. That was followed by a long home run by Cramer. The blast bounced off the clubhouse wall in right field and put West Virginia ahead for good, 2-1.

Grove followed with a 1-2-3 inning in the fifth and allowed just one baserunner in the sixth. After a single and two strikeouts in the seventh, junior Jackson Sigman replaced Grove and got the final out of the inning.
WVU added the first of two insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh. Junior catcher Ray Guerrini led off the inning with a double and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by junior pinch-hitter Shaun Wood. Gray then singled through the right side to easily score Guerrini.
The Mountaineers added another run in the eighth to make it 4-1. The inning again began with an error, when freshman center fielder Braden Zarbnisky reached on a defensive miscue. After a one-out single, Vera again drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to plate Zarbnisky.
Senior right-handed closer Blake Smith recorded the final six outs of the game and earned his seventh save of the season. Smith struck out three and allowed just one hit.
The home season concludes this weekend vs. William and Mary at Monongalia County Ballpark. The series begins with a doubleheader on Friday, May 13, at 4 p.m. The second game will begin approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one. After an off day on Saturday, WVU hosts Senior Day on Sunday at 1 p.m. Before the game, the Mountaineers will honor their four seniors, Jeff Hardy, KC Huth, Blake Smith and Ross Vance.
NOTES: WVU improved to 28-19 on the season and 17-10 at home … WVU has won six in a row, the longest winning streak of the season … Freshman Michael Grove earned his second win of the season, going 6.2 innings and allowing one run on six hits with 13 strikeouts, tying a career high and tied for the most in a game in the Big 12 this season … Junior Jackson Cramer recorded his 16th multi-hit game of the season … Cramer hit his seventh home run of the season and 16th of his career … Senior Blake Smith allowed one hit in the final two innings to earn his seventh save of the year … The game was delayed by 48 minutes before the first pitch, due to rain.
Single game tickets for the 2016 WVU baseball season are on sale now. Fans can join the excitement of WVU baseball and contribute to the home field advantage at Monongalia County Ballpark by calling 1-800-WVU GAME, purchasing tickets at WVUGAME.com or visiting the Mountaineer Ticket Office at Gate A of Monongalia County Ballpark. More information on single game tickets and can be found at WVUsports.com.

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