MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – No. 24 West Virginia’s bid for a third-consecutive weekend series sweep came up short on Sunday at Wagener Field at Monongalia County Ballpark.
A pair of multi-run home runs hit by Xavier hitters were the difference in the 8-3 victory for the visiting Musketeers.
WVU (18-6) starting pitcher Grant Siegel struck out the side in the first inning, showing great command. That command escaped him in the second inning, as he hit two batters and walked another to begin the frame. Batting with the bases loaded, Jared Cushing blasted a 2-2 pitch into the Xavier bullpen for a grand slam that put the Musketeers up 4-1.
Siegel lasted just two more batters before being pulled from the game. All four outs he recorded were via strikeouts.
Xavier (11-12) used the long ball to tack on two more runs in the top of the fourth. One pitch away from getting out of the inning unscathed, Mountaineer reliever Robby Porco served up a two-run blast to Andrew Walker. Walker’s round-tripper gave Xavier a 6-2 lead, despite the team having just three hits to that point.
Dayne Leonard singled home a run with two outs in the bottom of the frame to cut the deficit to three. Leonard, DHing Sunday, went 3 for 4 with two RBI at the dish. WVU did not score the rest of the game.
Cushing deposited another home run over the fence in left in the top of the eighth. This time, the baseball landed on the roof of the ticket office. The solo blast gave Xavier an 8-3 lead.
West Virginia struggled to bring runners home, leaving 13 men on base. JJ Wetherholt finished the game 0 for 4, marking just the second time he has been held hitless in a game this season. WVU stranded the bases loaded in the second inning, and left multiple runners on in the bottom of the third, fifth, and eighth.
The Mountaineers have one more game at home before beginning Big 12 play next weekend. West Virginia will entertain Marshall at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday.