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Black Bears Survive Late-Inning Scare, Defeat Scrappers on the Road

August 3, 2022

Niles, OH – The West Virginia Black Bears hit the road to begin the month of August and take on a familiar rival in the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. An early offensive explosion allowed West Virginia to take the series opener by a score of 7-5, highlighted by home runs from

Niles, OH – The West Virginia Black Bears hit the road to begin the month of August and take on a familiar rival in the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. An early offensive explosion allowed West Virginia to take the series opener by a score of 7-5, highlighted by home runs from DH Ryan Hernandez and 3B Jack Elliott.

The first three innings were rather bleak as the Bears produced justt three singles with two of them courtesy of MLB Draft League Hitter of the Week LF Turner Hill, who extended his hitting streak to eight games. The third single was off the bat of CF Maddux Houghton.

West Virginia’s offense came to life in the fourth inning when Hernandez hit his league-leading ninth home run of the season on a ball torched over the left field wall. With the bases loaded, catcher JC Santini delivered a single to bring home a pair of runs. Houghton kept the runs coming with his second hit of the night, before Hill brought two more Bears home with his third hit of the game. By the time the Scrappers recorded the third out, West Virginia led 6-0.

Mahoning Valley got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth inning with a single from SS Jarficur Parker. Parker drove in 3B Oscar Ponce, the first of three runs against Cook. Cook was then able to strand a pair of Scrappers and get out of the inning.

Jack Elliott quickly improved the lead for the Black Bears to a six-run differential when he went deep. The home run for Elliott was his second in a West Virginia uniform as he has showcased the “pop” in his bat since arriving in Morgantown.

The Scrappers were not going down without a fight as they tacked on a pair of runs courtesy of sacrifice flies. DH Jeffrey Wehler drove in left fielder Abimael Gonzalez, and right fielder Ron Washington Jr. plated CF Dominick Bucko. Cook was able to work through the inning and keep it a 7-3 game. Cook, who was recently named MLB Draft League Pitcher of the Week, finished his evening with four hits, three runs and seven strikeouts through five innings pitched.

Mahoning Valley tacked on two more in the sixth off reliever Chase Lorg who struggled to record an out. Lorg faced five batters with all five reaching against him on three singles and two walks. Shandon Herrera came on in relief of Lorg, conceded a sacrifice fly to Bucko, and got out of the inning with the Bears still in front.

West Virginia had multiple chances to pile up insurance runs, but left the bases loaded twice. Despite the win, the Black Bears stranded 10 runners on base.

Herrera produced another scoreless inning in the seventh before being relieved by Kanan Butler who also put up a zero against the Scrappers in his single-inning appearance. Grayson Thurman closed it out in the ninth and picked up his third save as a Black Bear.

West Virginia is back in action Wednesday evening against Mahoning Valley with the opportunity to take the series in game two. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.