West Virginia Falls to Frederick in Opening Day Game


GRANVILLE, W.Va. – The West Virginia Black Bears dropped the first game of the season to the Frederick Keys at Kendrick Family Ballpark on Tuesday evening. After tying the game 5-5, the Bears lost the contest in sudden death, while electing to play defense.

Frederick took an early lead with a solo home run in the second inning. With two outs on the board, Keys’ DH Kaden Moeller sent a fastball over the wall for the 1-0 lead. The inning ended on a pop-fly to second baseman Jordan Rogers with the Bears down by one run.

West Virginia struck back in the bottom of the third with two runs. Lead-off hitter Jarrett Ford took a walk after being hit by a pitch. The next at-bat, right fielder Jeff Liquori launched a ball to center field that took a hop over the wall for a ground-rule double to give the Bears their first run. West Virginia extended its lead with a ground out to third by Jordan Rogers that scored Dalton Wentz. Heading into the fourth, the Black Bears led 2-1.

Ryan Sleeper entered in relief of Cheeley with two runners on in the top of the fifth. A wild pitch scored Frederick’s Trevell Johnson before a second wild pitch brought home Brody Fahr. Sleeper ended the inning on a strikeout, but the Bears trailed 4-2.

Continuing his hot streak, Jeff Liquori doubled on a line drive to center field, scoring Brody Black in the bottom of the seventh. A fielding error by second baseman Jadyn Fielder gave Jarrett Ford time to make it home, knotting the game at four runs.

Black Bears’ third baseman Dariel Osoria made it 5-4 lead on a single that plated DH Josiah Chavez in the bottom of the eighth. However, Frederick evened the score the next inning after scoring on a hit-by-pitch with the bases loaded. Though West Virginia attempted to walk-off in the bottom of the ninth, the Black Bears struck out swinging to send the game into sudden death.

With the Bears electing to play defense, the Keys headed to the plate. With one runner on first, Frederick took advantage of a well-placed ball and scored to end the game.

Despite the loss, West Virginia showed flashes of greatness in its season debut. Starting pitcher Dylan Cheeley finished his three-inning outing with three strikeouts and one earned run. Christian Womble, the Jackson State graduate, went 3.2 innings with two strikeouts and just one hit. Offensively, Jeff Liquori from Florida International University, led the Bears with two hits and two RBI.

West Virginia returns for the second game of the three-game set against the Frederick Keys on Wednesday, June 5. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.