GRANVILLE, W.Va. – On Fan Appreciation Night at Monongalia County Ballpark, the West Virginia Black Bears provided their fans with a show as they took down the Mahoning Valley Scrappers 5-1 on Friday evening. After a rain delay cleared the teams off the field, the Bears returned to drive in
GRANVILLE, W.Va. – On Fan Appreciation Night at Monongalia County Ballpark, the West Virginia Black Bears provided their fans with a show as they took down the Mahoning Valley Scrappers 5-1 on Friday evening. After a rain delay cleared the teams off the field, the Bears returned to drive in five runs in two innings while the defense kept the Scrappers scoreless through seven.
The West Virginia defense showed control early in the game, holding Mahoning Valley off the board in the top of the first. A double play for the Black Bears sent the Scrappers back to the dugout and set the tone for the rest of the game.
West Virginia continued to flex its muscles in the field with another strong inning in the top of the second. In his first three-up, three-down inning of the evening, starting pitcher Patrick Miner recorded his first of six strikeouts as the defense retired the side.
The next inning, game play paused due to inclement weather. After a long rain delay, the Black Bears picked up where they left off with another quick inning in the field led by two more strikeouts from Miner.
The West Virginia offense finally awoke in the bottom of the fifth frame. Jack Elliot gave the Bears their first hit of the evening with a double shot down the right field line that dropped fair. The next at-bat, RF Ruben Fontes drove a ball into center field, sending Elliot home and giving West Virginia its first lead. The Bears were not done, and catcher JC Santini fired one deep over the left field wall for his second home run of the season and a two-run West Virginia advantage.
Patrick Miner dominated on the mound through the end of the sixth inning as he allowed just two hits and no runs with six strikeouts. Relieving Miner to begin the seventh, Kanan Butler held the Scrappers scoreless in his single inning on the mound with two strikeouts.
Mahoning Valley attempted a rally in the top of the eighth with RHP Tyler Johnson on the hill. With two runners on base, the Scrappers scored on what looked to be an easy double play for West Virginia. However, a throwing error by 2B Maddux Houghton allowed C Alex Crump to cross home plate, and the Bears headed into the bottom of the inning leading 2-1.
The Bears responded to the Scrappers’ rally with a scoring spurt of their own in the bottom of the eighth. MLB Draft League home run leader Ryan Hernandez jumped into scoring position when he popped one past 2B Will Prater to the outfield wall for a triple. After an intentional walk of 1B Logan Mathieu, West Virginia made the defense pay with a deep shot off the bat of LF Adan Fernandez for a three-run home run.
Closer Grayson Thurman picked up his seventh save of the season as he retired the side with one strikeout in the top of the ninth.
Adan Fernandez notched his fourth home run with the three-run shot on Friday night, continuing the hot streak that began in Frederick last series. Fernandez has now hit four home runs in four games, with two occurring in Wednesday’s win over the Keys.
The West Virginia Black Bears return for game two against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers on Saturday Night for Military Appreciation Night. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.