WVU gets road win in Blacksburg

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BLACKSBURG, Va. Two home runs and another strong start by junior left-handed starter Nick Snyder powered the No. 20 West Virginia University baseball team to a 7-2 victory at Virginia Tech on Wednesday night at English Field at Union Park.

The Mountaineers (29-17) won their fourth consecutive game against the Hokies (25-25) and improved to 10-4 in the series since 2003. WVU scored two in the second inning, extended its lead to 4-0 in the fourth and added three insurance runs in the eighth inning after VT cut the deficit in half, at 4-2, with runs in the fifth and seventh.

In the victory, senior right fielder Darius Hill played in and started his 221st career game, both the most in program history.

Snyder, and four relievers, held Virginia Tech to two runs on five hits and left 10 Hokies on base. WVU scored its seven runs on six hits and left four on.

Snyder had another strong start on the mound and collected his team-leading seventh win of the season as the Mountaineers improved to 9-0 in his starts in 2019. He improved to 7-1 on the year and recorded his second quality start in as many weeks and third of the season. In 6.1 innings, he held the Hokies to two runs on five hits with 12 strikeouts and four walks.

“He just needs to go out and be Nick Snyder, and he did it again,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said of Snyder’s performance. “They had a lot of leadoff guys on base, a couple hits, a couple errors, and he really got good when that happened. I tell pitchers all the time they throw the most important pitches from the stretch with guys on base, and he got most of his strikeouts with men on base, so really good job by him.”

Junior third baseman Kevin Brophy and junior first baseman Marques Inman homered and had three RBIs. Brophy homered in the first inning and Inman hit one in the eighth, both their team-high-tying eighth of the season. Brophy’s was the 14th of his career and Inman’s was his team-best 17th career longball.

The Mountaineers took a 2-0 lead in the first inning, as Brophy’s two-run home run with one out scored senior catcher Ivan Gonzalez, who doubled.

Snyder struck out two and left a runner on second in the bottom of the second, and stranded two on in the third.

West Virginia added to its lead in the fourth with two runs to make it 4-0. Inman led off the inning with a walk, took third on Gonzalez’s second double of the night and scored on a groundout by Brophy. With two outs, freshman shortstop Tevin Tucker singled to left to plate Gonzalez.

After Snyder struck out three in the fourth, the Hokies got on the board in the fifth. Back-to-back singles led off the inning, and a wild pitch scored the run from third to make it 4-1.

Snyder struck out another three in the sixth before Virginia Tech cut into the Mountaineer lead with a run in the seventh. WVU went to the bullpen after a one-out single, and three consecutive hit batters brought in a run. With senior left-hander Zach Reid on the mound, he got a fielder’s choice groundout and a flyout to end the inning.

With its lead cut in half, at 4-2, the Mountaineers answered right back with Inman’s home run in the top of the eighth to make it 7-2. The blast to left-center scored junior center fielder Brandon White, who walked, and Hill, who singled.

Freshman right-hander Ryan Bergert threw a 1-2-3 eighth inning, with two strikeouts, and freshman righty Zach Ottinger tossed a perfect ninth to seal the win.

WVU travels to Kansas State for its final Big 12 series of the season this weekend, from May 10-12 in Manhattan, Kansas. The series commences on Friday, May 10, at 7 p.m. ET, and continues on Saturday, May 11, at 5 p.m. ET. The finale at Tointon Family Stadium is slated for Sunday, at noon ET.

Notes: West Virginia improved to 29-17 on the season, 18-7 in non-conference play and 14-12 on the road … WVU is 9-1 in midweek contests … Senior right fielder Darius Hill played in and started his 221st career game, both the most in program history … Nick Snyder earned his third quality start of the season and notched double-digit strikeouts for the second time in as many weeks, with 12 today after a career-best 16 last week … Kevin Brophy hit his team-high-tying eighth home run of the season and 14th of his career in the first inning, which was his second home run in as many at-bats … Marques Inman hit his team-high-tying eighth home run of the year and team-best 17th of his career in the eighth inning.