TRENTON, N.J – After West Virginia took game one in the three-game set against the Trenton Thunder on Friday night, the Thunder evened the series with a 9-3 win on Saturday evening.
Starting pitcher Jeremy Cook and the West Virginia defense began the game off strong with a three-up, three-down inning to end the first frame tied 0-0.
Then in the top of the second, two stolen bases allowed the Black Bears to take the lead. After a single from 3B Jack Elliot put him on first, he stole second to put himself in prime scoring position. Elliot crossed home plate on a fielding error by the Trenton third baseman to give West Virginia a 1-0 lead.
Trenton struck back with a run in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. In a wild sequence, a throwing error on a pickoff attempt at second from West Virginia catcher J.C. Santini allowed LF Ryan McCarthy to score before the Bears were able to tag C Jonathan Waite out at third base. Cook ended the inning with a three-pitch strikeout as West Virginia headed to the plate tied 1-1.
The Thunder took the lead for the first time in the bottom of the third. Though Cook started the inning with two strikeouts, an RBI single from McCarthy plated CF Paul Coumoulos to give Trenton a 2-1 lead.
An RBI single from Jovante Dorris tied the game up in the top of the fourth. After Elliot got on base for the second time in as many appearances, a shot off the bat of Dorris drove Elliot home, knotting the game up for West Virginia at two runs.
The bottom of the fifth, however, proved to be the deciding inning for the Black Bears as the Thunder opened the scoring to take a four-run lead. With reliever Brian Williams on the mound, the inning began with a promising exchange from Dorris to Mathieu for the first out. Afterwards, the flood gates opened for Trenton. A bases-clearing triple from McCarthy scored RF Sam Freedman, Coumoulos and 3B Damien Yenzi to give Trenton a 5-2 lead. Later in the inning, a sacifice fly from Waite increased the lead to 6-2.
Though the Black Bears threatened in the bottom of the sixth with two runners on base, West Virginia was unable to capitalize on the momentum as the Thunder got out of the inning with a double play.
West Virginia did cut into the deficit by one run in the seventh. After a single from LF Turner Hill put him on base, a wild pitch from Adrien Reese and another Trenton throwing error allowed Hill to reach third. Ruben Fontes notched an RBI single that drove home Hill to cut Trenton’s lead to 6-3.
Trenton shut the door on any hopes of a West Virginia comeback in the bottom of the inning as the Thunder put up three more runs. A double from SS Troy Banks scored Waite for the eighth run, before a single to left field from Freedman brought home DH Mark Herron and Banks. The Thunder ended the inning up 9-3.
Though the Bears attempted a rally with a single from Hill in the top of the ninth, they were unable to gain any traction and finished the game down six runs.
Despite the loss, Jack Elliott and Turner Hill gave standout performances for West Virginia. Elliott went three-for-four with two runs, while Hill finished his evening with three hits and one run. Hill continues to lead the MLB Draft League in batting average and on-base percentage with a .463 BA and a .511 OBP.
The Black Bears finish the series against the Thunder on Sunday evening before returning to The Mon for a six-game home stand beginning Tuesday, August 16. First pitch for Sunday’s series finale against Trenton is set for 5:00 p.m.