Granville, WV – Despite an outstanding performance early in the game from the Black Bears starting pitcher and defense, West Virginia inevitably fell short of Aberdeen in extra innings Wednesday night at the Mon County Ballpark by a final score of 8-4.
The Black Bears began the game with a phenomenal showing by RHP Michael Burrows who pitched 5.2 innings and recorded seven strikeouts, three walks, and only two hits. In the top of the third, Burrows pitched a 3-up-3-down half, throwing three back-to-back strikeouts.
“You could tell their batters were having a tough time being able to pick it up,” said Black Bears manager Drew Saylor. “It was just an outstanding outing by (Burrows) overall.”
Out of the batter’s box, both teams had trouble finding hits against opposing pitchers. The game remained scoreless until the sixth inning when the Ironbirds broke the silence and scored a run in the top.
The Black Bears answered quickly, however, with three runs coming in the bottom of the inning. RF Matt Fraizer smashed a double and was brought home shortly after by a single off the bat of SS Jared Triolo. Triolo then scored off a groundout by CF Brett Kinneman. The final run of the inning came on the back of DH Matt Gorski and LF Blake Sabol. Gorski’s single was followed up by a deep liner to center field by Sabol that brought Gorski home. The sixth closed with a score of 3-1, West Virginia.
Aberdeen attempted to climb back in the seventh but was shut down by the Black Bears’ defense led by RHP Winston Nicacio on the hill. The Black Bears extended their lead to 4-1 in the home half with an RBI single from Triolo.
However, Aberdeen would not go quietly into the night, and in the eighth inning towered a two-run homerun that gave them their first lead of the game and brought the score to 4-3. Coming into the top of the ninth, the Ironbirds scored another run off a sacrifice fly to Kinneman, knotting it up at 4-4. The ninth came to a close with two Black Bears stranded on base, sending the teams into extra-innings.
The tenth inning proved to be the Ironbirds’ redemption as they brought in four runs on five hits, giving them the lead with a score of 8-4. West Virginia couldn’t find their footing in the bottom and ended the game down by four runs.
“Every play matters,” said Saylor. “We can’t worry about the last at-bat and we can’t worry about the at-bats moving forward, we have to stay present.”
The Black Bears look to bounce back against the Ironbirds tomorrow at 6:35 p.m. on Jeff Hostetler Bobblehead Night, presented by WVU Medicine. The first 1000 fans through the gate will receive a special Jeff Hostetler bobblehead, with gates open at 5:35.