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Justin Fox awaits a pitch from Luis Paula during West Virginia’s 5-1 upset of No. 12 North Carolina on Wednesday night.

 

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — John Means no-hit No. 12 North Carolina through five innings and threw West Virginia’s first complete game of the season in a 5-1 win Wednesday.

Means (4-1) registered five strikeouts and no walks while tossing a three-hitter. The junior left-hander had been scheduled to pitch Tuesday but West Virginia’s game against Marshall was washed out. So when the Mountaineers (11-6) hastily scheduled a replacement game against the Tar Heels (14-6), Means recalibrated to throw a 102-pitch gem.

“My arm was feeling good, so the jacked-up schedule didn’t hurt too much,” said Means, who lost his no-hit bid on Parks Jordan’s leadoff single to open the sixth.

“My fastball command saved me a lot today. I tried to spot up with that the entire game—and they’re a fastball hitting team—so I tried to get them to roll over and get themselves out most of the time.”

Even with the loss North Carolina’s RPI remained at No. 9, and just two spots behind was West Virginia at 11th—rare air for the program.

“We took this game at the No. 12 team in the nation on short notice, and a lot of people thought we were crazy for doing this,” said Mountaineers coach Randy Mazey. “But we’ve got a good team and I want to prove to everybody and prove to our guys that we’ll take on anybody, anywhere, anytime.”

Ryan McBroom went 3-for-4 with a double, while Billy Fleming and Justin Fox each had two hits and two RBIs.

“It’s a huge for our program, a big win,” Fox said.

West Virginia scored the game’s first runs in the top of the fifth on Bobby Boyd’s RBI groundout and Fleming’s two-out single. That chased North Carolina starter Luis Paula (1-1), who allowed four hits and two walks while throwing 75 pitches.

North Carolina cut the deficit to 2-1 in the seventh on pinch-hitter Adam Pate’s two-out double to left-center, but Pate was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.

A two-out rally by West Virginia in the eighth led to Fox’s full-count, two-run single to center. The third baseman had been in a 1-for-18 slump entering the day.

“With baseball that’s how it is—you’ve just got to keep battling,” said Fox. “And when you get down to two strikes, that’s when you’ve got to be tougher. He hung one and I stayed with my approach.”

Means followed that with an easy bottom of the eighth, needing only five pitches to induce a grounder, a popped-up bunt and a fly ball to center.

“It definitely helped a lot, that five-pitch inning being nice and quick, because my pitch count was rising a bit,” Means said.

The Mountaineers added another run in the ninth when Boyd singled, took second on a wild pitch and scored on Fleming’s single to right.

Means closed out the game with a perfect ninth, facing only two batters over the minimum.

“He was on all night long, and he had all three pitches going,” Mazey said. ”We gave him this game on short notice and when you do that to a pitcher, you don’t know what you’re going to get because they have routines between starts. We threw him into the fire here and he responded unbelievably. That was one of the best pitched games we’ve had all year.”

West Virginia will stay in the state to take on UNC Wilmington in a three-game series starting Friday.

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Comments

  • Rick55

    A good coach, not great. A great coach would have had far more wins.

  • Phil M.

    Gotta love it when we beat up on the ACC. After all they did not want us, so it's goof to kick their butts.

  • Beaner

    Van Zant great coach? Come on Man! Now I didn't know him personally and he may very well be a great person, but I wouldn't throw coach in front of the word great. Someone like Coach Mazie has been long over due. Thanks Ollie!

  • Rick55

    Richard no I think they will not be making up that game at Power Park. Unfortunately. I think the UNC game was scheduled at the last minute to fill in for it. Make sure to bring your boy to the Baylor series on Charleston. You won't be disappointed. Pitching and aggressive base running are the hallmarks of Mazie's teams, keeping unrelenting pressure on the opposing pitchers and defense. And remember, Van Zant actually recruited most of this team, including Harry Musgrave, Means, and McBroom; Coach Mazie did a fine job of recruiting this year including the O'Brian kid who is the son of Charlie O'Brian, if you followed MLB at all. Go Mountaineers!!!!!!!!

  • Mister Man

    Great job Mountaineers!!!!

  • richard

    are they going to make up the marshall game at APP? i will be there if they do. my son would love to watch the mountaineers at APP.

  • wvrefugee

    The ONLY coach we have right now in the major men's sports getting it done again!

  • WVcoal

    I've always kept an eye on WVU baseball and enjoyed previous success. But this is a new era in WVU baseball -- it's exciting and makes you want to keep up and not miss a game. Keep up the good work.

  • William101

    Wow. Great win for the program. We change conferences, get a new coach, start building a new home for baseball, and suddenly, there is new interest in basbeball throughout the state. I've never seen a WVU game, but I plan on going as soon as we get the new home ready. Looks like it should be an inexpensive outing which should be a lot of fun. I really like Coach Mazey's emphasis on pitching and defense. Everything else seems to fall in place.

  • Aaron

    “But we’ve got a good team and I want to prove to everybody and prove to our guys that we’ll take on anybody, anywhere, anytime.”

    I love the attitude. Great win Mountaineers. Keep firing fast balls and hook em on the curve.

  • ryan

    Why did it take so long to get rid of VanZant?????

    • Mister Man

      VanZant was a heck of a coach and Mountaineer. He carried the program on his shoulders. God bless him.

    • Aaron

      Why did it take so long to get rid of Ed Pastilong?

  • Rick55

    Great win guys! Against absolutely one of the best teams in the country no less. From a purely selfish point of view, though, I was really disappointed we cancelled the game in Charleston. I was really looking forward to seeing y'all in action. Go beat UNCW! See ya in Charleston and can't wait to see you beat Baylor!!!

  • Baldeagle

    Great win WVU, the emphasis on pitching is starting to payoff and as their confidence grows so will the wins..GO MOUNTAINEERS

  • Alex

    Great job team. Like to say if you are a baseball fan you will like the Mountaineers. If and when they play in your area do try to go and support them, you will not be disappointed. Go Mountaineers.

  • Greg

    Great win. Love the direction that the program's moving. THANKS OLLIE!