GRANVILLE, W.Va –
The West Virginia Black Bears headed back to Monongalia County Ballpark looking for its first home win of the second half on Friday against the Frederick Keys.
Frederick struck first in the first with Ben Fitzgerald sending a high flyball to right field that brought Amir Wright in with a sacrifice fly to make it 1-0.
Luke Eldred buckled down after that for West Virginia though, tallying a strikeout to end the half-inning and then setting the side down on strikes in the second.
His run support arrived in the second. Logan Mathieu clubbed his third home run in eight games, a solo shot, over the right field wall to tie the game and lead off the inning for the Black Bears.
With Eldred keeping Frederick off the bases, West Virginia took the lead in the third when Ruben Fontes rolled a groundball to second and when the Keys tried to turn two, the relay throw got away and Anthony Stehlin came in to score and make it 2-1.
Later in the bottom of the fifth, Maddux Haughton got in on the power surge, sending a high line drive screaming over the left field wall for a solo home run to extend the advantage before one inning later Fontes launched a ball into the night sky and over the right field fence take a 4-1 lead.
In the seventh Frederick got one back when Fitzgerald earned a bases loaded walk to force in a run and cut the lead down to two.
The Black Bears got it back and more in the bottom half though with Haughton coming in to score on a throwing error and Fontes driving Santini in with a single.
The Keys managed to rally late though. Evan Berkey cut into the lead with an infield single in the eighth before Wright made it a two-run game with a sacrifice fly.
Then Frederick got to work against West Virginia closer Grayson Thurman in the ninth. A throwing error and a walk put two runners on base with two out when Matt Oldham singled to right to drive in Robert Brooks and cut the lead to just one.
Thurman turned it around though, striking out Tyrese Clayborne to pick up his third save of the year for the Black Bears. He’s now set seven batters down on strikes in 5.1 innings of work.
Eldred earned the win with six innings of one-run ball, scattering five hits and striking out six.
West Virginia returns to Monongalia County Ballpark for the third game of the series with Frederick on Saturday at 7:05 pm.