Dale Sparks/WVU athletics

Marques Inman (25) celebrates a two-run, first-inning homer that put West Virginia ahead of UNLV in Sunday’s 7-5 win.

 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Marques Inman homered for the third consecutive game and West Virginia earned a much-needed series win by beating UNLV 7-5 on Sunday at Monongalia County Ballpark.

Inman’s two-run homer in the first put the Mountaineers (13-15) ahead for good. He added an RBI single when WVU stretched its lead with a four-run fifth.

The sophomore first baseman entered the weekend with one homer before going deep in both ends of Friday’s doubleheader.

“I’ve been having good at-bats all season, so now it’s good to see some balls leaving the yard,” Inman said.

After UNLV (23-11) took the series opener 11-4, West Virginia rebounded to claim the final two games. That looms huge for a team climbing back toward .500 yet sitting at No. 23 in the RPI.

“This was a big weekend for us — this is what we needed,” Inman said. “Especially after the first Friday game, things weren’t looking too hot, but we turned it around.”

In a steady, five-inning start, Braden Zarbnisky (2-1) gave up two runs, one earned. He yielded six hits but struck out three and did not walk a batter while throwing 66 pitches.

Zarbnisky also went 3-for-5 with three runs out of the leadoff spot.

“It’s pretty rare when a guy throws the first pitch for his team and sees the first pitch from the other team,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “There are other two-way guys around the nation, but to be a leadoff guy and steal bases and get hits, that’s super valuable. I wouldn’t trade him for anything.”

The top four hitters in the lineup combined for 10 of West Virginia’s 13 hits, five RBIs and six runs scored. Rebels starter Garrett Poole (1-1) lasted 4 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on eight hits.

Catcher Ivan Gonzalez had two hits, highlighted by a two-run single that built the lead to 7-2.

UNLV loaded the bases against reliever Sam Kessler to the seventh. Though Shane Ennis allowed all three inherited runners to score — one on a fielding error by Andrew Zitel — the right-hander finished with a three-inning save, his third of the season.

The Rebels threatened in the ninth with the tying runs reaching on an error with two outs and a walk before Ennis struck out cleanup hitter Nick Rodriguez to end the game.

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