GRANVILLE, W.Va. - In celebration of 80s Night at Monongalia County Ballpark, the West Virginia Black Bears spun right ‘round the base paths in a dominant 9-1 win over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on Friday night. West Virginia kept the game moving at a rapid pace as the defense held Mahoning Valley off the bags, retiring the side in five of nine innings.
The Bears set the tempo early as they sent the Scrappers to the dugout quickly in the top of the first with a double play and a strikeout from starting pitcher Rhian Mann. West Virginia carried the momentum to the top of the second inning as Mahoning Valley went three up, three down on two groundouts and a fly-out to center field. The Bears continued this trend into the third inning with two quick outs and Mann’s second strikeout of the game.
Then in the top of the fourth, the Scrappers struck first, scoring on an outfield single from DH Jeffrey Wehler to make it 1-0.
West Virginia responded quickly with a very productive bottom of the fourth to take a 4-1 lead. After Scrappers starting pitcher Masen Palmier loaded the bases with two walks and a single, RF Ruben Fontes drove in DH Logan Mathieu and LF Adan Fernandez on an RBI single and a throwing error by SS Will Prater. A single from C Nolan Metcalf brought home 3B Jack Elliott before Fontes scored on a fielder’s choice.
The defense kept it moving in the top of the fifth to record their quickest inning of the evening, catching three outs to send them back to the plate. In the bottom of the inning, the Bears offense capitalized early as a lead-off ground-rule double from Mathieu was followed by a sac-fly from Elliott that plated Mathieu to increase the lead to four runs.
Continuing the hitting hot streak, CF Turner Hill and SS Anthony Stehlin quickly got on base in the bottom of the seventh inning and were driven home on a two-RBI single from Mathieu to give the Bears a 7-1 advantage.
Hill started the last offensive inning for the Black Bears with a bang as he tripled to center field to get in scoring position with no outs in the bottom of the eighth. Maddux Houghton singled to drive in Hill before crossing the plate himself on a passed ball to put the Bears up 9-1.
In an effective pitching display, West Virginia’s bullpen held Mahoning Valley to four hits and one run through nine innings. Starter Rhian Mann finished his most impressive outing to date after six innings of work, allowing just three hits, one run and one walk. Right-handed pitcher Bryce Woody entered in the top of the seventh to relieve Mann and quickly recorded two strikeouts while giving up one hit. Closing out the game for the Bears, RHP Brian Williams entered in the eighth to record two shutout innings as the defense retired the side.
The Black Bears return to Monongalia County Ballpark on Saturday night to take on the Scrappers for game two on Mystery at The Mon night. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. with the second fireworks show of the weekend to follow immediately after the game.