— By Justin Jackson, The Dominion Post
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The calls to the bullpen may have required several overage charges Wednesday night.
And while the West Virginia baseball team defeated Virginia Tech 10-5 at Monongalia County Ballpark, it was anything but just another day at the park.
In short — which is to say that tongue in cheek, because there was nothing short about this game — the teams combined to use 17 pitchers. At three hours and 48 minutes, it was the Mountaineers’ longest nine-inning game this season.
Virginia Tech’s pitching card looked more its starting lineup — the Hokies (20-27) used nine.
“We were told before the game that they didn’t have a series this weekend, so they may throw a lot of guys,” said West Virginia second baseman Kyle Gray, who extended his hitting streak to 23 games with three singles. “We didn’t expect that. Some of the guys we didn’t even have numbers for” on the scouting report.
West Virginia (25-21) wasn’t far behind, using eight pitchers from a bullpen that is still searching for consistency.
“It’s been an issue with us,” Mountaineers coach Randy Mazey said. “You get a guy who throws really good and then you flip him the ball and he’s not as good. We need to be consistent.”
While dropping a three-game series last weekend at Kansas, WVU’s bullpen allowed 13 hits and 11 runs over 8 2/3 innings. Against the Hokies, WVU relievers gave up seven hits and three runs over 5 2/3 innings.
“If there was a clear-cut answer, we’d solve it,” Mazey said. “We just talked about it. In order to be consistent on the field, you have to be consistent with everything you do, from your sleep to your nutrition and your habits.
“It’s rare that you can be consistent with your routine off the field and that doesn’t translate on the field. That’s what we need over the last couple weeks of the regular season is for guys to be as good as they can be.”
Gray may already be there. The junior second baseman was named the Big 12’s Player of the Week last week and put three hits on his resume for this week. He’s now batting .375.
Every starter had at least one hit as the Mountaineers’ 17 hits were the second-most this season.
Jimmy Galusky also had three hits, and Ivan Gonzalez, Brandon White and Darius Hill each drove in two runs.
“We got a lot of hits, but we didn’t smash balls like we normally do,” Mazey said. “Not a ton of extra-base hits in the gap and those types of things. It’s nice to know we can win games without being able to do that; by bunting and moving runners and stealing bases.”
The teams also combined for seven errors, with Virginia Tech committing five.
The Mountaineers travel to TCU for a three-game series starting Friday, in a match-up of the sixth- and seventh-place teams in the Big 12. The Mountaineers trail the Horned Frogs by 1 1/2 games in the league standings.