GRANVILLE, W.Va. — Hofstra limited West Virginia to just a pair of base hits in the final five innings to defeat the Mountaineers, 4-2 in the opening game of a two-game set at Monongalia County Ballpark. No. 24 West Virginia (15-5) saw their nine-game winning streak come to an end.
WVU’s first two batters of the game scored but the Mountaineers couldn’t push anyone else across home plate. Braden Barry led off the bottom of the first inning with a double. He scored on an RBI single from JJ Wetherholt. A run-scoring groundout from Dayne Leonard sent Wetherholt to the plate.
“I think when the first two guys of the game scored runs, I think our guys thought it was going to be easy,” said WVU head coach Randy Mazey. “And they didn’t have any idea that that team over there came to beat the heck out of them. Because they sure played like it, man. They attacked the baseball at home plate like no team we have played this year. And their pitchers did a good job when they had to make pitches, of making pitches.”
Hofstra (7-12) evened the game with runs in the third and fourth inning. The Pride, an NCAA Tournament team in 2022, took the lead in the sixth inning when Kevin Bruggeman sent Will Kennedy to the plate on an RBI single. Brian Morrell scored on a throwing error to give Hofstra a 4-2 lead.
WVU starting pitcher Aidan Major recorded the final out of the sixth inning but he was charged with the loss after allowing two earned runs and seven hits.
“He was good. But that’s a good team over there. If you are a young kid who wants to learn how to attack the baseball, they don’t take many called strikes. If you throw it over the white, they are attacking it just about every time. And they are hacking at it with aggression.”
Carlson Reed recorded eight of the remaining nine outs for West Virginia. He struck out consecutive batters in the seventh to strand a pair of inherited runners. Reed struck out five batters.
“He pitched lights out. After everything I just said about how they were attacking the baseball, he strikes out a bunch of them.”
Wetherholt, WVU’s leading hitter, came to the plate with runners aboard in the seventh and ninth innings, but was intentionally walked both times.
“I wouldn’t pitch to JJ,” Mazey said.
The Mountaineers loaded the bases with two out in the bottom of the ninth. However, Michael O’Hanlon struck out Leonard to end the game.
This was West Virginia’s fifth game decided by two runs or less.
“We haven’t played a lot of games like that,” Mazey said. “You don’t ever want to lose them but the experience of it, loading the bases and getting guys up with the chance to win the game, we’ll be in that situation again. The fact that we were in it today will help us next time we are in it.”
Cade Henry earned the victory on the mound for Hofstra. The series concludes Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m.