Granville, WV - The Black Bears' defeat the Doubledays in a double digit hit-duel between the teams. West Virginia took the lead early and was never toppled by Auburn, only allowing them to tie the score twice. The Black Bears finished the game with 12 hits, making this the second game in a row they've batted into the double digits.
The Black Bears started off rocky as Auburn scored two runs in the first inning, however the Bears' defense, led by RHP Braxton Ashcraft , adjusted quickly and took out the next three batters. In the home half, the Black Bears score a two-run home run off the bat of CF Brett Kinneman.
Ashcraft was unimpeded by the early runs brought in by the Doubledays. He went on to keep their offensive outings to minimal damage, allowing only those two runs for Auburn.
"After the first inning I think (Ashcraft) really settled in and found his groove," said Black Bears manager, Drew Saylor. "I can't say enough about the competitor that he is."
In the fourth, the Black Bears scored two runs on no hits taking the score to 4-2.
In the fifth inning, RHP Denny Roman took the mound. Auburn scored two more runs tying the score at 4-4, but Roman quickly found his bearings and pitched two strikeouts to close out the inning. The home half was quiet for West Virginia.
2B Corey Wood had a great showing with two singles and an RBI double, giving the Black Bears the lead at 5-4, and some great defensive plays from second. Wood's RBI double came in the sixth, bringing home C Ryan Haug who had a rocket double of his own earlier in the inning.
Coming into the seventh, RHP Cameron Junker took the mound and made short work of the Doubledays' offense, throwing two strikeouts. As West Virginia stepped up to the plate in the bottom, they once again took full advantage of a struggling Auburn pitcher. Four runs on five hits took the Black Bears' lead to 9-4.
"I think it's all about being prepared," said Kinneman. "Whether it's knowing the pitcher or your own process, and I think everyone is starting to get a feel for that."
The Doubledays battled back the Black Bears in the eighth. Auburn loaded the bases and with the lead-taking run up to bat on three outs and RHP Garrett Leonard on the mound. However, a flyout to center cut down their charge.
The ninth inning closed quickly as Leonard, backed by his fellow Bears, shut down the Doubledays, after only four batters.
The Black Bears will finish their series against Auburn tonight at 6:35 p.m. Following that, they will continue the home stand for another three games versus the Aberdeen Ironbirds beginning on Wednesday, July 10.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit westvirginiablackbears.com or call (304) 293-7653.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.