Doubleheader Wins Close the Gap in the Division Race
NILES, Ohio - After dropping the last home game of the season, the West Virginia Black Bears took both games of the doubleheader against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers at Eastwood Field. Two games were played to make up for a postponed game on August 6.
With the wins, the Black Bears are tied with the Batavia Muckdogs for first place in the Pinckney Division, each with two games left to play in the regular season.
West Virginia completed another comeback win against Mahoning Valley in the first seven-inning game of the doubleheader to win 3-2.
The Scrappers jumped ahead in the bottom of the first inning with a two-run homerun that breached the center field wall off starting pitcher Jesus Valles. Though the NYPL All-Star allowed the two-run bomb, he gave up only three hits over five solid innings of work with four strikeouts.
For the second time in three games, 1B Will Matthiessen responded with a homerun of his own in the top of the second inning to tie the game. Matthiessen connected with the second offering from Scrappers' pitcher Francisco Perez to send the ball deep into left field and drive in 2B Cory Wood. Wood, who walked on a full count just before Matthiessen stepped into the box, recorded his fourth run in four consecutive games. The Scrappers ended the inning after retiring the next three in order to leave the game tied 2-2.
Both teams reached an offensive stalemate through the remaining five innings of regulation, and once again, the Black Bears found themselves in extra innings. In the top of the eighth with Matt Gorski on second base as a pinch-runner for Matthiessen, C Elys Escobar reached on a fielding error by the shortstop. The error brought Gorski home and gave the Bears their first lead of the game.
RHP Xavier Concepcion notched his third win with one of his best mound appearances this season. The undrafted free agent from the Dominican Republic gave up only one hit and no runs over three innings of relief work. The Black Bears ended the game on a pop fly to 1B Nick Patten to win 3-2.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Black Bears came out strong to beat the Scrappers 3-1. Led by a dominant six-inning performance from RHP Domingo Gonzalez, West Virginia completed the two-game sweep with only one run allowed in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Bears began the game with a run scored by lead-off hitter Blake Sabol in the top of the first inning. A patient hitter, Sabol, who ranks sixth in the league for walks, reached base on his 34th walk of the season. He was brought home on an RBI single by C Kyle Wilkie to give West Virginia an early 1-0 lead.
In the top of the third, Wilkie drove in another run on a sacrifice fly ball to center that scored 3B Jared Triolo from second base. The next inning, CF Brett Kinneman extended the Black Bears' lead on a sacrifice fly that plated 1B Will Matthiessen. West Virginia entered the home half of the fourth inning leading Mahoning Valley 3-0.
Despite a run scored in the bottom of the seventh inning on a fielding error, the Black Bears held the Scrappers to only five hits over seven innings with one unearned run. In his first start since joining the team, Domingo Gonzalez earned his first win with a shut out performance through the first six innings. Recently promoted from the GCL Pirates, the right-handed pitcher recorded eight strikeouts and allowed a mere three hits.
RHP Alec Rennard picked up his first save of the season with his single-inning outing in the seventh. Rennard allowed just two hits and one unearned run to keep the Black Bears ahead and end the game with a win.
West Virginia returns to Eastwood Field for one of the last two games of the regular season on Sunday, with first pitch scheduled for 4:05 p.m. For more information on the schedule and potential post-season tickets, visit www.westvirginiablackbears.com.
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