MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Kyle Gray erased any drama about extending his hitting streak with a first-inning RBI double, and West Virginia erased Maryland just as rapidly.
Bolting to an eight-run lead after two innings, the Mountaineers enjoyed a comfortable 9-5 victory Tuesday night at Mon County Ballpark.
Gray’s 2-for-4 night stretched his career-best hitting streak to 19 games, Jimmy Galusky hit his sixth homer of the season, and Christian Young tossed five scoreless innings for West Virginia (23-19), which has won seven of its last nine.
The teams last met in the 2017 NCAA tournament with West Virginia winning twice at the Winston-Salem Regional. Maryland (19-25) is a long shot to make it back to the postseason, especially after committing three errors that led to four first-inning runs.
Terps starter Billy Phillips (1-1) failed to survive the second inning when Marques Inman and Tyler Doanes each knocked two-run doubles.
WVU’s junior right-hander Young (3-1) tossed two-hit ball while striking out four. He left with an 8-0 lead after lowering his ERA to 5.52.
“He could’ve gone more, but he was throwing so good you want to think about saving him potentially for the weekend,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said.
Johnson relied heavily on his fastball and relished returning to a starter’s role for only the second time in 14 appearances this season. Over two junior college seasons he started 19 of 22 games.
“My main focus if going in there and trying to keep the ball low, pound the knees as best I can,” Johnson said.
West Virginia, with a 6-9 Big 12 record that needs to improve for purposes of earning an NCAA bid, visits Kansas for a three-game series starting Friday.