GRANVILLE, W.Va. - The West Virginia Black Bears defeated the Trenton Thunder, 7-6, at Monongalia County Ballpark after trailing by five runs heading into the bottom of the ninth. The Black Bears roared back with six runs in the final frame for the walk-off win on Friday night.
West Virginia started the night strong with Mark Faello on the mound. Faello struck out the first two batters before giving up a 1-0 lead on an RBI single from Joe Impeduglia.
But the Black Bears got it back in the bottom of the inning. With the bases loaded, Trenton starter Lane Miller walked Michael Cooper to score Patrick Lee and tie the game at one.
After the first, the Bears struggled at the plate while the Thunder rumbled on through the fourth. Anthony Abatine, Craig Corliss and Max Giordano each recorded RBI-hits to put Trenton ahead 4-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning.
Faello found his stride again at the top of the sixth. He retired the side, striking out two, to keep the inning scoreless.
Bears’ reliever John Bakke stepped in for Faello to start the seventh frame. Bakke struck out two to hold the Thunder off the bases. Patrick Lee ended Trenton’s advance with a throw to the plate from deep-right field for the final out of the inning.
Bakke was replaced by newcomer Danny Vasquez in the top of the ninth. The Thunder capitalized on a fielding error by Blaine McIntosh that scored Christian Merriwether to take a four-run lead. Impeduglia then hit a single to right field which drove in a run to go up 6-1 with just three outs remaining in the game.
After seven scoreless innings, West Virginia finally came to life in one of the greatest comebacks of the season. Back-to-back singles from Lee and McIntosh put two on base before Manny Vorhees smashed a two-RBI triple to center field that scored both runners. A fielding error by first baseman Justin Guerrera got Cooper on base and allowed Vorhees to score, pulling the Black Bears within two.
Noah Lucier recorded the first out of the inning, but not before driving in Cooper to bring the score to 6-5. Pinch-hitter Tyler Dellerman entered for Harold Torres with the bases loaded. After Dellerman was hit by a pitch, Bobby Lada made the trip home to tie the game at six. With Bears on every bag, a fielder’s choice on a shot to the infield by Lee brought home Anthony Hansen for the walk-off win.
Despite giving up four runs, Mark Faello had another promising outing. Through six innings pitched, Faello allowed six hits and four runs with eight strikeouts. John Bakke continued his season-long trend of strong relief appearances with two innings of work. Bakke gave up just one hit and one walk with three strikeouts. Danny Vasquez picked up his first win in his first game as a Black Bear. The former Nova Southeastern pitcher went one inning with two runs in the ninth.
West Virginia is now 20-8 in the second half of the MLB Draft League season, 6.5 games ahead of the State College Spikes and Frederick Keys. The Black Bears return for game two of the weekend series with the Thunder on Mothman at The Mon Night, Saturday, August 12. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m.