Bears Fall in Game One against Crosscutters


GRANVILLE, W.Va. – The West Virginia Black Bears were unable to get the bats rolling, falling 9-3 to the Williamsport Crosscutters in game one of three at Kendrick Family Ballpark on Tuesday. Eric Rataczak finished 4-for-4 with three RBI to lead the Crosscutters.

In the first inning, Carter Dorighi led off with a two-bagger, followed by third baseman Max Mandler soaking up a hit-by-pitch. Rataczak then connected on a two-run base hit to open the scoring.

The Crosscutters put up a three spot in the sixth and seventh innings to put the game out of reach. Dorighi roped an RBI double, then came around to score on an error in the next at-bat. First baseman Riley Nelson reached on a fielder’s choice. Jackson Mayo later drove in Nelson with a sacrifice fly, making it a 5-0 game.

In the seventh frame, Jacob Corson worked a one-out walk. Dorighi scored the right fielder with his second RBI double of the game. Mandler reached via a walk, then Rataczak tacked on with a sacrifice fly, his third RBI of the game.

Crosscutter starter Eric Johnson hurled six innings, allowing no runs on four hits, striking out five. The 2024 American East Pitcher of the Year did not issue a walk and only reached three balls in a count twice.

West Virginia managed to score in the eighth inning. Second baseman Jabin Trosky worked a leadoff walk, followed by a two-bagger from Brody Black to put runners in scoring position. Jack O’Dowd cashed Trosky in with a sacrifice fly.

Williamsport responded in the top half of the ninth with a run of its own. Porter Brown connected on a pinch-hit single to open the frame. Nelson drove Brown in with a single to make it a 9-1 game.

In the bottom half, Jeff Liquori blasted a two-run, 389-foot home run to cut the deficit to six. Mauricio Millan led off the frame with a walk and scored on the home run.

Storm Hierholzer went four innings for the Black Bears, allowing two runs on six hits and striking out seven. After allowing two runs in the first, the right-hander only allowed one runner to reach third base and struck out five of his seven batters.

For Williamsport, Dorighi finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored and a pair of RBI. Corson and Mandler both scampered home twice.

Liquori and Trosky both led the West Virginia offense with two hits apiece. Liquori finished 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored, while Trosky trotted home once and was 2-for-3.

West Virginia looks to even the series against Williamsport on Wednesday, June 26. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.