Black Bears Double Up IronBirds, 14-7
In an offensive explosion at Monongalia County Ballpark, the West Virginia Black Bears doubled up the Aberdeen Ironbirds 14-7.
The Black Bears had the team’s best performance at the plate this season, driving in those fourteen runs on a season-high sixteen hits.
Aberdeen opened things up in the top of the first inning with a pair of runs. A double and single gave the Ironbirds an early advantage.
In the bottom of the second, West Virginia took the lead. With runners on second and third, 2B Zack Kone drilled a single to centerfield to tie the game up at two runs apiece.
After Kone stole second base, LF Edison Lantigua followed up with a single of his own to put the Black Bears up 3-2.
The visitors came back in the top of the fourth with four runs. A solo home run and a double with the bases loaded put Aberdeen up by three.
That’s when the West Virginia offense exploded. With the bases loaded, 3B Mike Gretler got things started with a walk to bring home the first run of the innings. After a passed ball from the Ironbirds’ catcher and an RBI groundout from RF Brett Kinneman, the score was tied at six runs each.
Then with runners on second and third, C Grant Koch demolished a three-run homer to left field, putting the Black Bears up 9-6 with five innings left to play. The backstop finished the day going 2-4 at the plate with a walk and the three RBI’s that came from his first professional home run.
Aberdeen came back with a run in the top of the fifth inning, but once again West Virginia wasted no time in response. Kone started things off with an RBI double to bring home the Black Bears’ tenth run, and Gretler drove him home with a single to put the score at 11-7.
West Virginia wasn’t done yet. With Kone on third base, CF Travis Swaggerty joined the party with an RBI single to give the home team more insurance. After another single put two runners on, Kinneman came back up to crack a two-run double to extend the Black Bear’s lead to 14-7.
While five players in the West Virginia lineup recorded multiple hits in the game, 2B Zack Kone was especially dominant at the plate. The first-year pro out of Duke University went 4-5 with three RBIs on the night to boost his batting average from .174 to .286 on the season.
P Logan Stoelke came in for the final two innings to complete the Black Bears’ win, surrendering only one hit while picking up four of the six outs via the strikeout. The win was credited to reliever Nicholas Economos, who pitched two innings and surrendered one run while striking out four batters between the fifth and sixth innings.
The win gave West Virginia its fourth win in the last five games, as the team continues its climb back into the running in the Pinckney Division. Both teams are back at it tomorrow night for game two, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.