After moving the game start ahead 90 minutes due to an impending snow storm, both teams enjoyed mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the high 40s in front of a sparse crowd likely kept down somewhat by the change in game time.
The Mountaineers (5-6) did all their damage in the third inning. After EKU starter Brent Cobb made quick work of WVU in the first two innings, Mountaineer sophomore Bobby Boyd led off the third with a bunt single. He was quickly erased while attempting to steal second, but fellow sophomore Billy Fleming then poked a single into right field to put West Virginia right back in business. EKU reliever Chris Cervantes replaced Cobb one out later after Cobb reached his early season pitch count, and Nitro, W. Va. native Matt Frazer made the Colonels pay with a two-run blast to straight away center field on a 1-0 pitch to give WVU a 2-0 lead.
From the outset, West Virginia's pitching staff turned in an excellent performance, and made the lead stand up. Starter Zach Bargeron pitched 4 2/3 strong innings for the Mountaineers, but couldn’t finish the top of the fifth as EKU worked him for a walk and a single with two outs. Freshman Ryan Hostrander (1-0) came on and gave up a run scoring single to pinch hitter Doug Teegarden, but retired the next batter to preserve the lead. Hostrander settled down after that, pitching 1 1/3 innings of shutout ball to earn the win. Cobb (1-2) took the loss for EKU.
EKU (3-5) managed three more hits in the final three innings but could get a runner no further than second base. Junior pitcher Pascal Paul erased the last two batters to pick up his first save of the season.
For WVU, junior Ryan Tutland finished 3-4 with a triple for the Mountaineers, while Boyd was 2-3 with a walk. Teegarden finished the day 2-2 for EKU after entering the game in the fifth inning. Ryan Phipps singled and walked twice for the Colonels.
“We won the game and things haven’t been going our way lately as far as close games and the ball bouncing our way," WVU head coach Randy Mazey said. "We made big pitches at the end of the game and fortunately we got a win.”
The Mountaineers return to action on Thursday in Punta Gorda, Fla. against the Bowling Green Falcons in the Snowbird Baseball Classic. The Mountaineers are also slated to face Central Michigan, Maine and Iowa in the tournament.