Strong Performances on Offense and Defense Lead West Virginia’s 9-1 Win over Trenton

TRENTON, N.J. - In the first game of the series against the Trenton Thunder, the West Virginia Black Bears dominated the home team in a 9-1 win at Trenton Thunder Ballpark on Friday evening.

The Black Bears hopped on the board first in the bottom of the third inning after a single from CF Maddux Houghton scored LF Turner Hill to give the Black Bears the lead at 1-0. Houghton advanced to third base on a fielding error, and quickly scored on a passed ball by Trenton catcher Kevin Saenz to put the Black Bears up 2-0.

West Virginia got a boost from RHP Shandon Herrera in his first start for the Bears this season. Herrera put together four consecutive perfect innings to keep the Thunder lineup quiet. Through 6.1 innings, Herrera allowed just three hits and one walk with one earned run. He exited in the seventh inning with four strikeouts.

While Herrera and the Black Bear defense kept the Thunder baserunners to a minimum, the West Virginia offense went to work. In the top of the sixth, a single from RF Ruben Fontes scored 1B Logan Mathieu to give the Bears a 3-0 lead. Later in the inning, Fontes and C Nolan Metcalf crossed the plate on a line-drive double to right field from 2B Jovante Dorris to put the Black Bears ahead by five runs.

In the top of the seventh, Houghton scored on a single from 1B Logan Mathieu to further increase the Black Bear lead to 6-0. After two singles from Trenton put a runner in scoring position, LHP Ian McMahon entered the game to relieve Herrera. An outfield single from Trenton CF Sam Freedman plated the first and only Thunder run of the game before the West Virginia defense recorded the third out on a ground ball to third base.

The Black Bears entered the ninth inning with a five-run lead, but they were not finished yet. Houghton scored for the second time after a single from 3B Jack Elliot rolled into right field to increase the lead to 7-1. An RBI double from Fontes scored DH Adan Fernandez and Elliot to give the Black Bears a commanding 9-1 lead with three outs remaining for Trenton to score.

However, Tyler Johnson ended any hopes of a miracle for the Thunder as he came to the mound to close out the contest for the Bears in the bottom of the ninth. Johnson and the defense retired the side to clinch win West Virginia’s 36th win of the 2022 season.

In addition to Herrera’s incredible outing, the Bears bullpen backed up the offense with solid performances from McMahon, Kanan Butler and Johnson. Through a combined 2.2 innings, they did not allow another run and gave up just two hits. The West Virginia offense continued its hitting streak with 13 hits over the course of the evening, and Maddux Houghton accounting for four of them. Houghton finished his night going four-for-five at the plate with three runs and one RBI.

The Black Bears are back at Trenton Thunder Ballpark to take on the Thunder for game two of the weekend series on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m.