GRANVILLE, W.Va. – Despite mounting a comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning, the West Virginia Black Bears dropped the first game of the series to the Frederick Keys, 4-3, at Monongalia County Ballpark on Thursday evening. In an unusually slow offensive night for the Bears, West Virginia totaled
GRANVILLE, W.Va. – Despite mounting a comeback in the bottom of the ninth inning, the West Virginia Black Bears dropped the first game of the series to the Frederick Keys, 4-3, at Monongalia County Ballpark on Thursday evening. In an unusually slow offensive night for the Bears, West Virginia totaled just five hits on the night.
The Black Bears jumped on the board first in the bottom of the first inning when a wild pitch from Keys starter Jordan Geber allowed LF Adan Fernandez to score. That would be the only run allowed by Geber as the Frederick pitcher allowed just three hits in his seven innings on the mound.
For the first three innings, the Bears matched the Keys efforts as starting pitcher Patrick Miner retired all nine batters faced. Miner, who pitched six innings, recorded five strikeouts during that period.
In the top of the fourth, Frederick managed to plate three runs to take the lead. After a double and a walk put a runner in scoring position, a two-run double from DH Alex Baeza driven deep to left field scored LF Hunter Jump and 3B Ben Fitzgerald. Two batters later, Keys catcher Trevor Johnson singled on a line drive to center field that was deflected by Miner to bring home Baeza. Miner recovered with his seventh strikeout of the night to end the inning down 3-1.
Neither team produced at the plate for the next four innings. Miner finished his evening after the sixth with five hits, three runs and eight strikeouts. Though the Bears managed to put runners on base in three innings, they did not score another run until the bottom of the ninth.
Frederick struck first in the top of the ninth inning with a single off Black Bears reliever Tyler Johnson that scored 1B Jake Plastiak from third to give Frederick a 4-1 lead.
In the home half of the inning, West Virginia rallied with a single from DH Tremaine Spears to center field that scored catcher Nolan Metcalf. With two runners on base, manager Jedd Gyorko subbed in slugger Ryan Hernandez as a pinch hitter for SS Anthony Stehlin. A wild pitch by Jacob Schultz allowed 3B Jack Elliott to score to cut the Frederick lead to one run with the MLB Draft League home run leader at the plate. After an intentional walk of Hernandez, Schultz closed out the inning as CF Maddux Houghton struck out swinging.
Though a slow game offensively, the West Virginia bullpen held Frederick to just three hits following Miner’s exit after the sixth. In their three combined innings, Chase Lorg and Tyler Johnson recorded two strikeouts each while allowing one run.
With the loss, West Virginia is now 4-3 on the second half of the MLB Draft League season. The Black Bears return to take on the Keys for game two of the series on Friday evening for 90s Night with post-game fireworks. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.