GRANVILLE, W.Va. – The West Virginia Black Bears dropped the last game of the series against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in a 14-0 loss on a hot Sunday afternoon at Monongalia County Ballpark. After West Virginia put up 16 runs the previous night, Mahoning Valley returned the favor with 14 runs on 14 hits in the series finale as the Bears allowed seven runs in a decisive third inning.
West Virginia’s early-game struggles on the mound continued into Sunday afternoon. Starting pitcher Shandon Herrera could not locate the strike zone, allowing 10 runs on 10 hits through his 2.2 innings pitched. The Scrappers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first with a triple by 2B Parker DePasquale driven hard to left field. The next inning, 3B Taj Porter scored DH Abimael Gonzalez on a sacrifice-fly before LF Tyler Acosta drove in the third Mahoning Valley run of the game with a triple to center field. Dominick Bucko put the Scrappers up 4-0 heading into the bottom of the inning with an RBI single that brought home Acosta.
After another scoreless bottom of the inning, Mahoning Valley continued their revenge campaign with seven runs in the top of the third. A lead-off single by 1B Adam Fogel and a walk put a Scrappers runner in scoring position for Alex Crump. The catcher doubled on a fly-ball to left field to score two more for a 6-0 lead. Bucko drove in his second run of the game on a double to left that scored Crump before Bears starter Herrera loaded the bases full of Scrappers with a single and a walk. In a surprising turn of events, Herrera was ejected by home plate umpire Ronnie Whiting after hitting two batters in a row – an act that drew a spirited reaction from manager Jedd Gyorko who took to the field to show his displeasure.
With one out remaining and the bases loaded, RHP Brian Williams took over for Herrera on the mound. Attempts to work out of the jam were in vain as RF Ron Washington, Jr. hit a grand slam over the left field wall to increase the Scrappers lead to 11-0.
West Virginia allowed another run in the top of the fourth on a force out at second base. With the bases loaded, Bucko recorded his third RBI on ground out with Crump crossing the plate.
Frustrations running high, another Black Bears player was tossed in the bottom of the eighth. On a swinging strike, 1B Logan Mathieu was ejected from the game after exchanging words with the umpire. Catcher JC Santini entered as a pinch hitter for Mathieu.
Mahoning Valley extended its lead in the top of the ninth. After going through the bullpen with Herrera’s early ejection, RF Tremaine Spears took the mound for the Bears. The outfielder from Southern University allowed two runs with one strikeout in his first appearance for West Virginia. A sac-fly to center field by DePasquale scored Acosta, and a triple from Washington, Jr. plated Prater for the 14th run of the game.
The Black Bears pitchers took a beating on Sunday after allowing 14 runs on 14 hits with one home run. Though relievers Chase Lorg, Ian McMahon and Bryce Woody all managed to record scoreless innings for the Bears, the early issues on the mound were ultimately insurmountable.
In a game that was dominated by Mahoning Valley, the West Virginia bats stayed uncharacteristically quiet all afternoon. The Bears went scoreless through nine innings with just six hits – three of them by Turner Hill who still leads the MLB Draft League in batting average with a .408 and a .473 OBP.
West Virginia returns for the final regular season home series on Tuesday, August 30. The three-game set against the Frederick Keys closes out the Black Bears home season before the MLB Draft League Championship game at Monongalia County Ballpark on September 6. First pitch for Tuesday’s game against the Keys is set for 6:35 p.m.