Black Bears Bounce Back with 9-3 Victory Over Keys

FREDERICK, MD - After finishing their last home series with a loss, the West Virginia Black Bears bounced back on the road at Nymeo Field at Harry Grove Stadium, beating the Frederick Keys 9-3 on Tuesday evening.

The Bears bats started off hot in the first as CF Turner Hill and 2B Maddux Houghton led off the inning with back-to-back hits. A two-RBI double from DH Ryan Hernandez scored Hill and Houghton for the first runs of the game. A single from 3B Jack Elliot that scored Hernandez quickly followed to give West Virginia an early 3-0 lead.

The Keys answered in the bottom of the first with what was nearly two runs scored, but a heads-up throw by Houghton to Bears catcher JC Santini made it just in time for the tag at the plate, ending the inning with a score of 3-1.

Hernandez recorded his third RBI of the night with an infield single with the bases loaded to score Santini and make it 4-1 heading into the bottom of the second.  

West Virginia recorded their third consecutive inning with a run after LF Adan Fernandez started the inning strong with a double to center field. SS Anthony Stehlin drove in Fernandez with two outs after hitting a triple to center field, increasing the Black Bears’ lead to 5-1.

A string of walks in the top of the fifth resulted in Santini and Hill trotting in for two free runs to take a six-run lead. In the bottom of the inning, the Black Bears put on a nice defensive display, catching Keys CF Amir Wright stealing second for the first time all season. The defense then recorded another out at the plate to end the inning.

A dominant performance from starting pitcher Shandon Herrera preserved the lead into the bottom of the sixth, as he recorded three consecutive strikeouts to retire the side with a runner at first. Herrera was relieved by lefty Ian McMahon in the seventh after six innings of work, one run allowed and six total strikeouts. McMahon held the Keys from plating a runner, allowing one hit in his single inning on the mound.

Adan Fernandez notched his third RBI in the top of the eighth with a two-run home run that scored 1B Logan Mathieu. Though the Keys closed the deficit to seven in the bottom of the inning on a single from Jake Plastiak that scored SS Tyrese Clayborne, the Bears headed into the last frame ahead 9-2.

Right-handed reliever Tyler Johnson closed things out for West Virginia in the ninth, giving up just one run on a Ben Davis solo homer for a final score of 9-3.

Six Bears recorded a hit through the evening, though Hernandez and Fernandez powered the team’s offense, each with three RBI. Hernandez finished his night with three hits, one run and three RBI while Fernandez recorded two hits, two runs and three RBI including his two-run homer in the eighth.

The Black Bears are back at Nymeo Field for game two against the Keys on Wednesday evening. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m.