GRANVILLE, W.Va. — West Virginia’s first sweep is in the books.
The Mountaineers (10-4) closed out its four-game homestand by knocking off Minnesota 7-4 at Wagener Field at Monongalia County Ballpark on Sunday. WVU made a late push, tallying five runs in the eighth to overcome a one-run deficit and seal the win.
Ellis Garcia started the surge with an RBI bloop single to right field. WVU took the lead on the ensuing at-bat when Caleb McNeely scored on a passed ball, then Landon Wallace and Tevin Tucker each added RBIs for insurance.
“Those guys are very capable of beating a lot of people, so now it’s time to root for the Gophers for the rest of the year,” said WVU coach Randy Mazey. “The pitchers they run out there, they’re capable of winning and when they get a lead, they play with life.”
Tucker, WVU’s No. 9 hitter, finished his strong weekend with a pair of hits, playing the series with a .667 batting average and 3 RBIs. The three-game stretch bumped his batting average to .325 on the season.
“There’s no pressure in that spot on him. I told him before the season started that I couldn’t care less your batting average, I just want the situation to be better when you left it than when you found it. If that means just moving a guy up one base at a time, then that’s what you’ve gotta do, and I think when he stopped worrying about his batting average, all of a sudden it started going up,” Mazey said.
Grant Siegel worked the mound for the first 5 1/3 innings for WVU, allowing three runs on two hits while striking out six Gophers. Noah Short (1-0) got the win, however, after spelling Carlson Reed in the eighth inning and grabbing an out.
Reed pitched two innings in relief and allowed three hits with a strikeout.
Connor Wietgrefe (0-2) took the loss after allowing two runs, including the go-ahead score, in the eighth.
Braden Barry gave WVU a boost with his bat, logging three hits. Sam White added a pair of knocks as well, including a double in the fourth inning that eventually turned into a run.
Boston Merila logged the only multi-hit game for Minnesota, recording three hits with two doubles and two RBIs.
The Mountaineers hit the road once again for a five-game stint in North Carolina, opening with a pair of games at Appalachian State on Tuesday and Wednesday.