MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Jackson Cramer drove in four runs with a homer and a double and West Virginia collected 16 hits during a 14-7 win over Marshall on Tuesday night.
Amid a slugfest, Sam Kessler earned his first college save with 3 1/3 innings of scoreless relief for the Mountaineers, who began the day No. 9 in the RPI. They improved to 16-10 overall and 3-1 at home.
Cramer and Kyle Davis each had three hits in the win. Kyle Gray, one of the few hitters yet to get going in West Virginia’s potent lineup, had three RBIs on two hits to raise his season average to .176.
“We’ve got a really good offensive team if we don’t get in our own way,” Mountaineers coach Randy Mazey said. “Singles don’t really win it for you. Extra-base hits win games, and that’s what we did tonight. We drove some balls and hit some doubles.”
The Thundering Herd fell to 12-14 despite Tyler Ratliff’s two solo homers, giving him six this season.
Marshall starter Brad O’Connor (1-3) saw his ERA climb to 9.58 after he was battered for 11 runs (nine earned) in only 3 2/3 innings.
After giving up Cramer’s two-run homer in the first — the first baseman’s fifth homer this season— O’Connor allowed three more runs in the second, and was finished by WVU’s sixth-run output in the fourth. That featured Cramer’s two-run double as well as RBI doubles by Davis and Chase Illig.
After Marshall trimmed the deficit to 11-6 against Mountaineers starter Isaiah Kearns (4-0) in the sixth, Kessler entered and allowed Billy Sager’s RBI triple. It was the only hit surrendered by the freshman reliever during his 49-pitch outing.
“On a great night to play offense — with the wind blowing out, and those guys are a pretty good offensive team — to get through this game with just two freshmen pitchers when we got two mid-week games this week (is important),” Mazey said. “For Sam to come in and do what he did was really good from a team standpoint.”
Kearns remained undefeated despite allowing seven earned runs on nine hits over 5 2/3 innings.
West Virginia won for the 14th time in the past 17 meetings and leads the series 44-24.
On Wednesday, the Mountaineers host Morehead State (22-6), one of the top teams from the Ohio Valley Conference.