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Mountaineers fall twice to Georgia State

It was over almost as soon as it began.

Georgia State scored 11 runs in the first inning en route to a 20-4 battering of West Virginia and a sweep of Saturday’s doubleheader in Atlanta. The Panthers (2-1) piled up seven hits and 10 earned runs off WVU starter Jake Carr, who got only two outs against the 12 batters he faced, and added eight more against three other Mountaineer pitchers to cap a most forgettable day for WVU.

The result capped a tough day for WVU, which dropped a 7-6 decision in 10 innings in the front half of the twin bill.

Every Georgia State run in the second game was of the earned variety, as WVU hurlers combined to give up 20 hits. The ugly stats included seven Mountaineer walks, two wild pitches and five hit batters as Georgia State went 20-43 at the plate. The carnage included just one home run — a two-run job by Will Mize that capped the first inning onslaught — but saw eight different Panthers collect at least two hits, led by Ashby Smith’s 4-4 showing.

In the first game, West Virginia rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth to force extra innings, but Georgia State produced a run in the bottom of the 10th to take the win.

In the second game, the Mountaineers (1-2) were able to get their bats going as the game went on, but couldn’t overcome an inning of double-digit runs by the Panthers. WVU had already allowed 16 runs before getting on the scoreboard in the fourth.

Jake Carr, the WVU starter, was the victim of the Panther offense in the first. The sophomore gave up 10 earned runs on seven hits in just 0.2 innings before Trevor Sharp came in for relief. Sharp wasn’t entirely safe himself, as GSU’s Will Mize hit a 2-run homer to give the Panthers an 11-run inning to start

In the opener, West Virginia jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second via hits big and small. Austin Davis got aboard via a bunt single, and Dominic Ragazzo blasted a triple to left center in his first at-bat of the season to bring him home. Then it was back to small ball, as Mikey Kluska’s dribbler down the third base line was allowed to roll, and when it hit the bag for a fair ball, Ragazzo was already across the plate for a 2-0 lead.

Two innings later, the Panthers (1-1) strung together three hits of their own to tie the score, starting a string of four consecutive innings in which they dented the plate. Griffin Cheney and Elian Merejo smacked back-to-back doubles to score one run, and after a strikeout, Dalton Pearson beat a relay on a potential inning-ending double play to push Merejo across with another.

GSU added a run in the fifth, two in the sixth and another in the seventh to take what looked to be a safe 6-3 lead, but West Virginia had one last gasp which it took advantage of.

In the top of the ninth, Kluska reached on a throwing error, and Victor Scott got aboard while forcing him at second. Tyler Doanes singled to score Scott, then after WVU loaded the bases, Paul McIntosh’s grounder to shortstop was bobbled, allowing two runs to score to tie the game at 6-6.

Unlike Friday’s game, though, which WVU won in extra innings, this time it was the home team that came out on top.

Brandon Marchman was hit by WVU pitcher Skylar Gonzalez to lead off the tenth, and moved to second on a sacrifice. WVU got the second out of the inning, but Merejo singled to left to score Marchman with the winning run.

Hudson Byorick and Ragazzo each had two hits for the Mountaineers, while McIntosh had two RBI.