The Bears Bite Back in 3-1 Win over Keys

Pitching power drives West Virginia to first win of the season

GRANVILLE, W.Va. - The West Virginia Black Bears avenged their Opening Day loss to the Frederick Keys with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday evening at Kendrick Family Ballpark. The Black Bears maintained a two-run lead for six innings while the bullpen racked up 14 strikeouts, holding the Keys to five hits over nine innings.

Looking to repeat last night’s performance, the Keys struck first in the third inning. After Bears’ starting pitcher Cory Ronan threw three scoreless frames, a ball thrown wide right during a force-out at third scored Frederick’s Tervell Johnson to give the Keys a one-run lead.

With the Bears back at the plate, they overtook the Keys in the bottom of the inning. Jeff Liquori's two-RBI double plated left fielder Brody Black and center fielder Jarrett Ford to give the Bears their first lead of the game.

After four innings, Ronan was relieved by right-handed pitcher Victor Quinn. Despite allowing Keys’ DH Kaden Moeller to advance to third on wild pitches, Quinn regained his composure to end the Frederick threat with a strikeout.

West Virginia extended its lead in the bottom of the sixth when Mauricio Millan singled on a ground ball to right field that scored first baseman Lucas Ismaili. Heading into the seventh, the Bears led 3-1.

Hunter Hodges made his debut on the mound in relief of Quinn at the top of the seventh. Hodges wasted no time, striking out the side. The final frame, Hodges delivered two additional strikeouts to seal the game and give the Black Bears their first win of the season.

In a turnaround from Tuesday evening, the West Virginia bullpen dominated Frederick, holding the Keys hitless and scoreless through the last five innings. Victor Quinn, the right-handed pitcher from Missouri, recorded the win after throwing two frames with five strikeouts. Reliever Hunter Hodges notched seven strikeouts through the final three innings. The Texas Christian University (TCU) reliever struck out seven of 11 batters faced, earning his first save. Florida International alum Jeff Liquori continued to produce at the plate, leading the Black Bears with one hit and two RBI for the second night.

West Virginia looks to take the series in the final game against the Frederick Keys on Thursday, June 6. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.