GRANVILLE, W.Va. – The offensive fireworks were on full display at Monongalia County Ballpark on Saturday evening as the West Virginia Black Bears trumped the Frederick Keys 14-9 to take game three of the series. In a game featuring multiple home runs from both teams, the Black Bears blew the
GRANVILLE, W.Va. – The offensive fireworks were on full display at Monongalia County Ballpark on Saturday evening as the West Virginia Black Bears trumped the Frederick Keys 14-9 to take game three of the series. In a game featuring multiple home runs from both teams, the Black Bears blew the game wide open with a grand slam from Logan Mathieu to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning.
West Virginia got off to a rocky start as pitcher Zach Bravo took the mound for the Black Bears in the top of the first. Shortstop Evan Berkey put Frederick on the scoreboard first with a two-run home run to left center field that scored CF Amir Wright. Bravo regrouped and pulled together two strikeouts to end the inning with the Keys leading 2-0.
The next inning, Wright notched an RBI single on a line drive that scored catcher Matt Oldham. Left fielder Hunter Jump grounded into a force out but allowed enough time for DH Calvin Rucker to score from third. Heading into the bottom of the inning, Frederick led West Virginia by four runs.
The Bears began to cut into the deficit in the bottom of the inning as SS Jack Elliott sent a home run over the right field wall for the first West Virginia run of the game.
However, Frederick responded in turn the next inning as 2B Trevor Johnson homered on a line drive to left field to restore the four-run lead.
The bottom of the third marked a shift in the game as West Virginia recorded one of three four-run innings. The Bears scored in four consecutive at-bats beginning with a single from LF Turner Hill that scored 2B Jovante Dorris. A sacrifice fly from RF Ruben Fontes brought home CF Maddux Houghton before a double to left field from DH Ryan Hernandez scored Hill. Logan Mathieu finished the scoring run for the Bears with a sac-fly to left field that brought Hernandez across the plate, and West Virginia ended the inning tied 5-5.
The Keys continued to fight back with two runs in the next two innings. The first came on an RBI ground out from Berkey that scored Wright in the top of the fourth inning, while the second run was driven in on a Matt Oldham triple in the top of the fifth.
But West Virginia took a dominant turn in the bottom of the fifth with Mathieu’s bases-clearing home run over the right field wall. With the grand slam, the Bears took the lead, 9-7, and never looked back.
Continuing to pile on, the Black Bears scored another four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. An RBI ground out from Hill drove in Dorris for the first run and a double from Fontes scored Houghton for the second run of the inning. Hernandez, who advanced on a throwing error at the plate by Oldham, scored Fontes with an RBI single before he came home on a double from Mathieu to bring the score to 13-7.
The Bears tacked on one more run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a wild pitch by Keys reliever Brett Taucher for good measure.
With three outs left for Frederick, the Keys managed to cut the deficit by two runs with a two-RBI double in the top of the ninth, but ultimately, they were unable to overcome West Virginia’s lead.
In addition to Mathieu, who went two-for-four at the plate with one run and an incredible six RBI, Turner Hill continued his hot streak in the Bears line up. The Marietta College graduate finished his evening with three hits, two runs and two RBI to bring his batting average to .485 in nine games as a Black Bear.
West Virginia and Frederick return to Monongalia County Ballpark for the series finale on Sunday afternoon for Kids’ Day. First pitch for the early game is set for 4:05 p.m. with “kids run the bases” following the game.