The Bears Blast Four Home Runs in 6-3 Comeback Over the Keys

GRANVILLE, W.Va. - On another cloudy evening at Monongalia County Ballpark, the Black Bears put on a home run clinic to mount another late-game comeback against the Frederick Keys in their 6-3 win Wednesday night. With the win, West Virginia took the series over Frederick and improved its record to 16-8 in the second half and 39-23 overall.

It was a similar script to last night’s contest as the Keys jumped ahead early with a 3-0 lead in the third inning. After a solo shot by RF Ben Fitzgerald put Frederick on the board, two more quick runs crossed the plate as LF Hunter Jump drove in 2B Tyrese Clayborne with an RBI double and 3B Jake Plastiak plated CF Amir Wright. Unphased, starting pitcher Zach Bravo immediately answered with three straight strikeouts in the top of the fourth to keep the Bears on track.

Things looked grim for the Black Bears as they trailed 3-0 heading into the sixth inning. That all changed when 1B Logan Mathieu hit a solo home run off the scoreboard to give West Virginia its first run of the night. Shortly after, 3B Jack Elliott followed suit with a two-run home run that scored LF Adan Fernandez to tie the game 3-3.

Two outs from the Black Bears defense and a strikeout from Bravo kept things tied in the top of the seventh. Then in the bottom of the inning, DH Ryan Hernandez broke the tie with a two-RBI blast deep to left center field that brought home SS Anthony Stehlin. The next at-bat, Mathieu drove out his second solo home run of the night to give the Black Bears a comfortable 6-3 lead heading into the eighth inning.

After seven productive innings for Bravo, he finished his evening with eight hits, three runs and six strikeouts. From the bullpen, reliever Kanan Butler took the mound and kept the Bears’ lead intact as he ended his scoreless single-inning appearance with two consecutive strikeouts.

Closer Grayson Thurman entered in the top of the ninth to keep the Keys batters on their toes. Thurman earned a strikeout of his own against the final Keys batter to end the game and give the Black Bears the win.

Hitters Logan Mathieu, Ryan Hernandez and Jack Elliott pushed the envelope for West Virginia in the 6-3 win as they accounted for all six RBI on Wednesday evening. Mathieu finished with two solo home runs, notching his two hits, two runs and two RBI in four at-bats. Hernandez picked up his 12th homer of the season with his two-run shot, adding to his already impressive MLB Draft League single-season home run record, while Elliott drove in two runs with his deep ball to right field.

West Virginia returns for game three against the Frederick Keys on Thursday, August 18 for Healthcare Workers Appreciation Night. Special Cooper bobbleheads will be handed out at the gate to the first 1,000 fans in attendance as the Bears go for the sweep against the Keys. First pitch for the game is set for 6:35 p.m.