MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Cody Bradford was as stingy as ever. But for the first time in a while, he didn’t have much help.
West Virginia’s piece-it-together approach on the mound worked effectively, and the Mountaineers picked up a 2-1 win over the Bears in the series opener Thursday. The Mountaineers used six different pitchers, yet managed to keep the BU hitters off-balance, striking out 11.
Bradford (6-5) pitched well enough to win, but the lack of run support undermined his chances. The sophomore left-hander allowed just four hits and two runs in seven innings, while striking out five and walking a pair.
Baylor (30-19, 11-11) snatched the lead by scoring a run in the second off WVU starter B.J. Myers. Shea Langeliers smoked a leadoff double, then came home two batters later when Josh Bissonette whacked a single the other way into right.
The lead didn’t last long, as West Virginia (27-23, 9-13) tied things up in the third. The Mountaineers’ two-way standout Braden Zarbinsky found a hole down the right-field line for a one-out triple, then promptly came plateward when Brandon White singled into left field.
Bradford held off the Mountaineers until the seventh, when West Virginia cashed in with an unearned run. Marques Inman led off by reaching on a throwing error by BU shortstop Nick Loftin. Following a Kyle Gray single, West Virginia’s Tyler Doanes skied a fly ball to right to push the Mountaineers in front on the sac fly, 2-1.
Baylor actually outhit West Virginia, 8-5, on the day, but the strikeouts nullified any shot of a rally. The Mountaineers struck out the side in the eighth and fanned another two BU hitters in the ninth.
No West Virginia pitcher worked more than three innings. Myers, the starter, threw 37 pitches, as the Mountaineers have him installed as their Game 3 starter in the series as well. Zarbinsky, who scored West Virginia’s first run as the team’s leftfielder and leadoff batter, pitched the final two innings for his first save of the year.
Zach Reid (1-0) recorded only one out, but it was enough to give him the win on the mound.
Loftin went 3-for-5 to pace Baylor at the plate, but the Bears had only two extra-base hits on the night, a pair of doubles from Langeliers. Davis Wendzel saw a 37-game streak of reaching base end, while T.J. Raguse’s 11-game hitting streak came to a close.
Langeliers also had a big night defensively, throwing out four WVU runners.
The series will pick back up at 2 p.m. Central Friday, a change from the original schedule, as the teams try to get ahead of some impending precipitation.