The Mountaineer baseball team had some high moments, but could only conjure up one win in the Atlanta Challenge against Kennesaw State, Georgia State and Georgia Tech.
Kennesaw State 5, West Virginia 3
The 2019 baseball season got off to an interesting start as WVU opened up the year northwest of Atlanta to take on Kennesaw State on Friday afternoon.
West Virginia opened up the scoring early as Darius Hill hit a one-out triple and came home two at-bats later on a Paul McIntosh ground out to go up 1-0 in the first inning.
The star of the day ended up being Alek Manoah, who would have 1-2-3 innings over three of the ensuing four innings. He would strikeout 13 before coming out after the sixth inning.
The Owls would score an unearned run in the bottom of the fifth to tie things up, but the Mountaineers would respond with two runs of their own off an Ivan Gonzalez 2 RBI single, scoring Marques Inman and Tyler Doanes.
Kennesaw State would score four unanswered runs to close out the game, one on an RBI single in the sixth and three runs in the seventh
Once KSU took the lead, the Mountaineers would not reach scoring position again. Relief pitcher Nick Snyder (0-1) took the loss for WVU.
West Virginia 8, Georgia State 2
WVU drove across town to Southeast Atlanta to take on Georgia State, where they were able to manage some redemption from the earlier evening’s disappointment.
The Mountaineers capitalized on some Panther mistakes early in the first inning, with Doanes scoring on a McIntosh walk with the bases loaded, and Tristen Hudson hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Hill. WVU would hold the 2-0 lead all the way through the fifth inning.
Georgia State would cut the deficit in half, 2-1, in the bottom of the fifth on a home run to left field by Brandon Bell.
West Virginia responded with a four-run sixth inning from which the Panthers could not recover. The Mountaineers would tack on two more runs in the ninth and allow Georgia State an RBI double to close out the win.
Jackson Wolf would pick up the win for WVU, pitching 5 innings, allowing only one run on four hits.
Georgia Tech 5, West Virginia 4 (11 innings)
Call it superstition, but through three games, evenings have not been kind to the Mountaineers.
In a rescheduled matchup due to weather, WVU struggled to capitalize on scoring opportunities throughout the first six innings.
Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets rattled off three runs in the first two innings, two on a Kyle McCann two-run homer in the first and one on an RBI single in the second.
Georgia Tech would score again on a double play in the sixth inning to take a 4-0 lead late.
In the top of the seventh, the Mountaineers started to rally. With Andrew Zitel and TJ Lake on base, Kevin Brophy hit what should have been an easy 5-3 ground out, but the Yellow Jacket third baseman would make an error, scoring Zitel and Lake.
Doanes would double in the next at-bat, scoring Brophy and quickly cutting the Georgia Tech lead to 4-3 at the stretch.
In the first at-bat of the eighth, Inman hit a home run to left center field to tie it up. After both teams went 1-2-3 in the ninth, they went into extra innings.
Both WVU and Georgia Tech would go 1-2-3 again in the tenth.
West Virginia had a real shot at taking the lead in the top of the eleventh, with Hudson and Gonzalez in scoring position after a couple of throwing errors. Nothing would come of it, as Brandon White and Lake would strikeout to end the top of the frame for WVU.
In the bottom of the eleventh, Nick Wilhite hit an RBI single with the bases loaded to give the Yellow Jackets the walk-off win.
Beau Lowry (0-1) took the loss for WVU after only spending the eleventh inning on the mound.
The Mountaineers will continue the Peach State portion of their schedule as they have a road series with Georgia Southern starting at 6 p.m. on Friday.