By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor
Baylor baseball dropped the series opener to West Virginia Thursday night in Morgantown, W. Va.
The Bears stranded nine men on base and committed a costly error in the seventh inning as the Mountaineers squeaked out a narrow 2-1 win.
Sophomore lefty Cody Bradford (6-5), who had won his last two starts for Baylor, delivered a solid performance for the Bears. Bradford allowed just four hits and two runs, but just one earned with two talks and five strikeouts over seven innings. Senior Joe Heineman replaced him in the bottom half of the eighth inning.
Bradford’s one true mistake was a one-out triple by junior outfielder Braden Zarbinsky in the bottom half of the third inning. Sophomore outfielder Brandon White then singled through the hole between third base and shortstop to score the run and tie the game at one.
Zarbinksy’s triple was the only extra base hit for West Virginia as its four other hits were all singles.
West Virginia took the lead in the bottom of the seventh, taking advantage of a throwing error from freshman shortstop Nick Loftin.
Junior infielder Kyle Gray then singled to center, advancing redshirt sophomore Marques Inman to third base before freshman third baseman Tyler Doanes’ sacrifice fly to right field would prove to be the game winner.
The Mountaineers had opportunities to add on insurance, but ran themselves off the bases in the seventh as Baylor sophomore catcher Shea Langeliers caught two runners stealing.
Then again in the eighth, Langeliers erased a one out single from redshirt shortstop Jimmy Galusky, gunning him out at second base. The Keller native threw out four West Virginia runners total.
Baylor’s lone run of the game came back in the second inning.
Langeliers led off the inning with a double to straight away center field. Two batters later, junior second baseman Josh Bissonette singled to right field, putting Baylor in front 1-0.
As a team, despite outhitting West Virginia, the Bears struck out 11 times, including three times in the eighth and twice in the ninth.
Loftin had three hits in five at bats for Baylor and Langeliers had a pair of doubles.
Redshirt junior Zach Reid (1-0) earned the victory, pitching just a 1/3 of an inning in the seventh.
Zarbinsky, who struck out five in two innings, earned his first save of the season.
Baylor (30-19, 11-11) and West Virginia will square off in game two at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow and 12 p.m. Saturday.