Using two different ways to get the job done, the West Virginia baseball team swept UNC Greensboro in a doubleheader, Saturday. In game one, the Mountaineers took down the Spartans, 28-2, while in game two, fifth-year senior Blaine Traxel threw his third complete game of the season in a 4-1 victory. WVU improves to 14-4 on the season with its eighth straight win while UNCG falls to 10-9.
In game one, West Virginia had 23 hits led by four each from redshirt-seniors Dayne Leonard and Caleb McNeely. Senior Kevin Dowdell, junior Braden Barry, sophomore Grant Hussey, and freshman Nick Barone each hit home runs in the contest with McNeely, Dowdell, and Hussey each drove in three runs. Leonard and Barry also each scored four runs.
Overall, 13 Mountaineers touched home plate at least once, including every starter, while 10 players collected an RBI. The 28 runs are the most for West Virginia since scoring 28 against Seton Hall in 2006. The last time the Mountaineers scored more came against Fairmont State in 1984 when they scored 29.
West Virginia scored two runs in the first and three in the third before exploding for 13 runs in the fourth inning, the most the Mountaineers have scored in an inning this year. In the fourth, 16 batters came to the plate with nine of them getting base hits. WVU also benefitted from three Spartan errors in the inning.
West Virginia continued the onslaught, scoring in each of the next four innings with home runs coming from Hussey in the fifth, Dowdell in the seventh, and Barone in the eighth. For Barone, it was the first hit of his Mountaineer career.
On the mound, junior Ben Hampton picked up his first win of the season, throwing 5.0 innings with five strikeouts. Four relievers threw the final 4.0 innings with eight strikeouts including redshirt-freshman Tommy Beam who struck out a pair in his WVU debut.
In game two, the story was Traxel once again as he threw his third complete game in his last four starts. He struck out six with one walk while allowing six hits and just one run. It was the eighth complete game of Traxel’s career as he is the NCAA’s active leader in innings pitched.
At the plate in game two, Hussey hit his second home run of the day and third of the season. Sophomore JJ Wetherholt added two hits and an RBI while Barry collected a hit, an RBI, and a run scored as well.
Hussey gave the Mountaineers the lead in the second as he golfed a 1-2 pitch off the netting in front of the scoreboard in right for a two-run home run.
Wetherholt tacked on a run in the fifth with a single before UNCG scored its only run of the game in the sixth on a solo home run by Caleb Cozart. Barry got the run back for the Mountaineers in the seventh with a sacrifice fly.
The Spartans threatened in the eighth as Cozart came to the plate as the tying run, but Traxel induced an inning-ending groundout. Traxel then finished the game with a 1-2-3 ninth which included a pair of strikeouts.
WVU will look for the series sweep tomorrow afternoon. First pitch from UNCG Baseball Field is set for 1 p.m.