TRENTON, NJ – The West Virginia Black Bears slugged their way to a 17-6 victory over the Trenton Thunder at Thunder Ballpark on Monday evening. Turner Hill led the Bears offensively as Zach Bravo and the bullpen settled into the game and shut down the Thunder. In their highest scoring
TRENTON, NJ – The West Virginia Black Bears slugged their way to a 17-6 victory over the Trenton Thunder at Thunder Ballpark on Monday evening. Turner Hill led the Bears offensively as Zach Bravo and the bullpen settled into the game and shut down the Thunder. In their highest scoring game this season, the Black Bears offense scored 17 times on 19 hits and 10 walks.
West Virginia struck first in the top of the first inning as 1B Ryan Hernandez grounded into a double play, scoring Hill. Trenton answered back quickly in the bottom of the inning as LF Kolby Blanchard ripped an RBI double down the right field line to give the Thunder a 2-1 lead.
The Trenton lead did not last. The Black Bears pulled off a successful double-steal resulting in Dorris coming in to score to tie the game. The West Virginia offense tacked on three more runs in the third as Mathieu scored on an error before Dorris singled to bring home LF Adan Fernandez for a fourth run. With the bases loaded, a walk of 3B Jack Elliot scored a fifth Black Bears run to give West Virginia a three-run advantage after 2.5 innings.
The Thunder, however, did not go away. First baseman Josh Surowiec doubled in 2B Dilan Espinal before scoring on an error later in the third. By the end of the inning, Trenton cut the West Virginia lead to 5-4.
After a shaky start, Black Bears starting pitcher Zach Bravo held the Thunder at an arm’s length of the West Virginia lead. Bravo finished his day tossing five innings, allowing four runs (only two earned) on three hits, walking one and striking out four.
Two more runs in the sixth widened the West Virginia lead as Mathieu scored on another wild pitch from pitcher Ryan Sandberg and the walk of J.C. Santini brought in a second run.
The scoring became somewhat one-sided in the remaining three innings, as the Black Bears kept pouring it on in the top of the seventh. Hernandez notched an RBI single that scored Hill followed by a Mathieu sacrifice fly to bring home Elliott . Hernandez scored on a wild pitch to put the Bears in double-digits with a 10-4 lead.
Though Trenton grabbed a run back in the bottom of the inning thanks to an Espinal single, West Virginia responded with six more runs in the eighth and ninth innings. After loading the bases with no outs, Mathieu singled in Hill for the team’s 11th run. Adan Fernandez notched an RBI groundout and Termaine Spears slashed a two-run single to left that scored Ruben Fontes and Mathieu.
West Virginia kept pouring it on in the ninth. Hill reached base for a seventh consecutive time knocking in his first RBI of the game. Mathieu was hit by a pitch, driving in a run, and Fernandez added a sacrifice fly to finish the scoring at 17 for the Black Bears.
The Thunder rumbled quietly in the bottom of the ninth with a single that scored Espinal, but they could not muster anymore runs and finished the game down 17-6.
From the bullpen, Ian McMahon, Daniel Rivero and Kanan Butler allowed a total two runs on four hits through a combined four innings to end the game.
While nearly every Black Bear in the lineup managed at least one hit on the evening, Turner Hill had a spectacular night at the plate as he finished five-for-five with four runs and one RBI. Similarly, Elliott, Fernandez and Dorris recorded three hits each with a combined five runs and seven RBI. Logan Mathieu finished his night with three runs and three RBI.
The Black Bears improve to 3-1 in the second half of the season, while the Thunder fall to 0-3. West Virginia goes for the series win on Tuesday evening at Trenton Thunder Ballpark, with first pitch set for 7:00 p.m.