EAST BANK, W.Va. – The WVU Tech baseball team split in their double-header set at home last Saturday against USCAA rival University of Cincinnati Clermont.
In the first game, the Golden Bears dropped an 11-7 battle to the Cougars. After a scoreless first inning, Clermont jumped out to a 6-0 lead over the Blue and Gold in the top half of the second inning. Golden Bear head coach Lawrence Nesselrodt sent pitcher Craig Johnson, a Chapmanville Regional High School graduate, to the mound for his third start of the year.
The Cougars’ Jeff Muse lead off with a double to right field before Mike Sechrist reached on a walk. First baseman Ryan Mummert then doubled to left, scoring Muse and advancing Sechrist to third.
Trevor Cunningham stepped in and singled to right scoring Sechrist and Mummert. The Cougars continued their streak when Josh Reinhart placed a sacrifice bunt down the third base line to advance Cunningham to second. Leadoff man Steven Hendrickson then singled to center scoring Cunningham from second.
After Johnson set down Kevin Thamann with a fly out to right field, he threw a wild pitch advancing Hendrickson. After a single to center by John Kennedy, Johnson was relieved by Nick Quintero. Johnson surrendered six runs on six hits in his 1 2/3 innings of work.
The Blue and Gold bounced back in the bottom half of the inning to bring the game to 6-1 when catcher Grant Williams grounded to first scoring third baseman Jose Soto. Golden Bear bats continued to remain active in the bottom of the third plating three runs on four hits. The Cougars committed three costly errors during this stretch to aid the Blue and Gold’s offensive surge. After three innings of play, the Cougars led the Golden Bears 6-4.
Clermont added five more insurance runs in the top of the fourth and fifth innings to take the 11-6 lead. The Black and Red pitched two shut innings before allowing one more Golden Bear to cross the plate in the final inning of the contest. The final score of the first game of 11-7 rested in the Black and Red’s favor. Clermont’s Chris Sunderman was credited with the win while Johnson was credited with the loss. The Golden Bears were led by Roberto Rivero who went 2-2 during the game. Kevin Bocock and Zach Sizemore also went two-for-four on the day with an RBI.
While the second game’s results finished in the same 11-7 score, this time, the win came for the hometown Golden Bears. Senior Grant Williams made his first career start at pitcher and picked up the win in the process. While he surrendered a leadoff double to Hendrickson, he collected three consecutive ground balls ending the inning with only one running crossing the plate.
The Golden Bear bats then came alive. Center fielder Bocock led off the game with a single to center. Bocock then stole second base moving into scoring position. On the next pitch, left fielder Ryan Kessinger singled down the third base line moving Bocock to third. The Golden Bears then pulled off a double-steal plating Bocock for the first Golden Bear run of the game while also advancing Kessinger to second. Sizemore walked before catcher Jose Soto flied out to right to record the first out of the inning. Next, right fielder Marc Culmer landed a single just over the first baseman’s head advancing everyone 90 feet.
Designated hitter Taylor Carter then lined a shot down the first base line to score Kessinger and Sizemore. Rivero then reached on a walk to load the bases. Third baseman Austin Lucas then walked on four straight pitches to plate Culmer and move the base runners up a spot. During Bocock’s second at bat of the inning, he reached on an error by Thamann that scored Carter and Rivero. Kessinger singled to center to plate Lucas before Sizemore struck out to end the offensive onslaught of the first inning. The Golden Bears plated eight runs on five hits and one error by the Cougars.
Williams pitched 3 2/3 innings before giving up four runs being relieved by Cesar Chavez. The Golden Bears plated one more run in the third, fourth, and fifth innings to bring their lead to 11-5 heading into the top of the seventh. Even though, the Cougars scored two runs in top of the seventh, the late inning rally was not enough to overcome the early offensive attack by the Golden Bears. The Blue and Gold improved to 2-7 on the season sending Clermont (3-1) home with its first loss of the season.
“We responded well after dropping the opener,” Coach Nesselrodt said. “We still have not found a consistent groove and will need to find it Monday against 2012 NAIA World Series qualifier Point Park.”
The Golden Bears were scheduled to return to action on Monday at home against Point Park University in doubleheader in Beckley.