Times West Virginian
CHARLESTON, S.C. —
A year ago their season ended in the shadow of a natural disaster, the Oklahoma City tornadoes, but it didn’t end until the West Virginia baseball team had won over the hearts of the nation with their volunteer work to help feed the hungry and deliver supplies to the needy.
This year their baseball season opened as nature again showed her fury, being caught bussing from Morgantown to Charleston on Interstate-77 through blizzard like conditions that had them virtually stranded for hours, this time with them in need of food.
They went from breakfast until late in the evening without eating. Coach Randy Mazey told the story via Twitter:
— Still sitting on I-77, 5 hours now. If we started walking now and keep same pace from Big 12 hike, we’ll get to Charleston for Sunday game.
— OK, moving again, but every restaurant along I-77 closed coz of declared state of emergency. Can anyone help? 50 mi. north of Charlotte.
— Team hasn’t eaten since breakfast. Got some hungry Mountaineers!
— Whew! Found a place for the team to eat!!!! AND it’s an Outback Steakhouse! My favorite. Worth the wait.
They eventually got to Charleston and actually played a noon game against No. 8 Louisville, falling in extra innings, 7-6, after blowing a 6-4 lead in the eighth inning.
Louisville won the game on Louisville’s Jeff Gardner’s walk-off home to right field off senior Corey Walter, who took the loss.
The Mountaineers got off to a fast start, scoring runs in each of the first four innings to take an early 5-1 lead.
Junior shortstop Taylor Munden singled through the left side to lead off the game on the first pitch of the season. Munden then gave WVU a 1-0 lead as he scored from second on a two-out single through the right side by senior left fielder Jacob Rice.
Junior right fielder Trevor Simms led off the second inning with a four-pitch walk and scored from second when junior third baseman Justin Fox singled up the middle to drive in Simms, doubling the lead to 2-0.
Senior first baseman Ryan McBroom hit the first home run of the season in the third inning to extend the lead to 4-1 with a long shot over the left field fence, driving in junior second baseman Billy Fleming. Fleming led off the inning with a single to right field.
Junior catcher Max Nogay made it 5-1 in the top of the fourth with a line drive laser off the left field foul pole for a home run.
Louisville’s lone run during the first four innings came off a solo home run by Danny Rosenbaum in the second inning.
The Cardinals then cut the WVU lead to 5-4 with one run in the fifth inning and two in the sixth inning, highlighted by a two-run home run to left field by Grant Kay.
McBroom’s third RBI of the afternoon made it 6-4 in favor of WVU in the seventh inning. Fleming began a two-out rally with a double down the right field line and was driven in by a McBroom single through the left side.
Louisville tied the game at 6-6 in the bottom of the eighth on back-to-back RBI doubles by Gardner and Rosenbaum, eventually forcing extra innings.
Despite earning a no-decision, junior left-hander Harrison Musgrave started off where he left last season and struck out seven batters in 5.1 innings pitched. Musgrave allowed four runs, three earned, on four hits.
Senior right-hander Pascal Paul struck out five in 3.1 innings of relief.
Nick Burdi earned the win for Louisville, pitching a scoreless 10th inning. Starter Joe Filomeno only lasted 4.0 innings, allowing five runs on seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
The Mountaineers will continue play at 6 p.m. today against Delaware. Junior right-hander Sean Carley will be making his West Virginia debut on the mound. Live stats will be available through WVUsports.com.