Milik holds Wheeling Park in check, keys Morgantown to 8-1 win

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Morgantown’s Tristan Milik was in a groove early into his start Wednesday night against Wheeling Park.

The right-hander maintained it throughout an impressive outing in which he limited the Class AAA No. 10 Patriots to four hits over seven innings to lead the No. 4 Mohigans to an 8-1 victory at Dale Miller Field.

“His performance was outstanding,” Morgantown head coach Pat Sherald said. “From the first pitch, he gave us a chance to win the game. He pounded the strike zone, worked off his fastball and threw three pitches for strikes. It was a very clean game on his part.”

Half of the hits Milik allowed came in the first inning, when Wheeling Park (10-7) threatened with a pair of singles, before the right-handed pitcher induced a ground ball to second base off the bat of Rocco Digiandomenico to escape unscathed.

When the Mohigans (14-4) came to bat, they capitalized on Mason Bowers’ leadoff hustle double and produced an early run run on Dylan Travinski’s single to shortstop, which allowed Bowers to score from third for a 1-0 lead.

“We haven’t been very good at starting games and we’re trying to figure that out,” Patriots’ head coach Steve Myers said. “We have to get out of the gate a little better than what we have been. Those things make a difference. It’s every inning, but we need better starts.”

Wheeling Park had another quality scoring chance in the second after its starting pitcher Ryland Robb drew a base-on-balls and moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt. Paul McGee then hit a line drive, but MHS second baseman Koa Silvers hauled it in and the Mohigans maintained their one-run lead.

The game stayed 1-0 until the bottom of the third. Weston Mazey accounted for a leadoff bunt single, stole second and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, before touching the plate courtesy of Silvers’ sacrifice fly to center.

WPHS went in order in the fourth to make it a stretch of eight of nine batters retired by Milik, who was effective while working quickly.

“The pace of play is very important for any defense. Our guys appreciate him getting in a rhythm, keeping the game moving fast and it keeps their attention in the game,” Sherald said. “Defensively, there’s not as many mental lapses when he’s working at that pace.”

Yet in the fifth, McGee led off with a single and eventually got to third with two outs, before scoring the Patriots’ lone run on a balk to cut the visitors’ deficit in half.

MHS, however, got that run back in the home half of the fifth. Caleb Nutter led off with a single and after Mazey reached on a fielder’s choice that yielded the first out of the inning, he moved to second on the game’s only error — one that allowed Bowers to reach.

Mazey then took off in an effort to steal third, and the throw down got away and went into left field for what marked the only error of the game — one that allowed the Mohigans’ shortstop to come home with his team’s third run.

MHS had a chance for more that frame, but Travinski bounced into a double play with runners at the corners to end the inning.

Milik again retired the Patriots in order in the sixth, benefitting from a strong catch by Bowers in center for the second out of that inning.

By the time he came back out on the mound in an effort to finish off the complete game, the Mohigans were in complete control after adding to their advantage with five runs in the sixth.

Eli Boggs accounted for a leadoff infield single and after Tommy Montague drew a base-on-balls, it marked the end of Robb’s pitching outing as he gave way to Trenton Rosenthal.

Rosenthal had no luck trying to keep Park within striking distance and immediately surrendered a run-scoring single off the bat of Nate Wolfe.

Noah Fields followed with a sacrifice fly to up the MHS lead to 5-1, and Silvers worked a bases loaded walk for the sixth run, before Travinski drove in a pair on a single.

“Offensively, that’s one of our better performances of the year with quality at bats one through the lineup,” Sherald said.

Milik worked a perfect seventh to make it nine straight batters retired to end his strong seven-inning outing.

Milik finished with five strikeouts and one walk.

Travinski led all players with three hits, while Bowers and Nutter added two apiece to aid the Mohigans in a 12-hit performance.

Over five-plus innings, Robb allowed five runs on eight hits. He struck out three and issued one base-on-balls.

“We had good starting pitching. He did exactly what we ask of him and gave us a quality five innings,” Myers said. “But we have to get better at understanding opportunities. It’s physical and mental right now, so we have to keep playing every day and get a better grasp on that. We also have to get more aggressive. We’re still a little too shy and we need to start taking the pace of the game over a little bit. We’re not there yet.”

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