MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Michael Baumann struck out 12 Friday night in Monongalia County Ballpark and helped Jacksonville University (11-13) establish a 3-1 lead over West Virginia University (11-8) through eight and a half innings, but two tough calls in the ninth allowed the Mountaineers to tie the game and take momentum. West Virginia escaped with a 5-3 win over the Dolphins.
Baumann's career-best strikeout total is his fourth straight game of at least eight strikeouts, raising his season total to 46. Baumann allowed just one run to score on four hits and three walks in six and two-thirds innings of work.
While Baumann, Matt Meyer, and Tyler Santana held the Mountaineers in check, the Dolphins spread their offense around. JU struck early with the first run coming in the first inning. Scott Dubrule doubled to left with one out, and then was plated by Sam Armstrong, one of three hits for the junior from Ocala, Fla. After one JU led 1-0.
The second Dolphin run came in the fifth on consecutive doubles. Dakota Julylia got his double on a first pitch swing and some aggressive base running, and was driven home by Nathan Koslowski's 2-0 double to right. After five innings JU led 2-0.
Jacksonville scored its final run in the sixth on the strength of two singles and a sac fly. Armstrong got his third hit of the night on a full count, then was advanced to second on Evan Fernandez's single through the left side. A deep hit sacrifice fly by Chris Lehane got Armstrong home safely, and JU increased its lead to 3-0 after six.
The Mountaineers finally got on the board in the seventh inning. West Virginia's catcher, Chase Illig, smacked a single through the left side on an 0-2 count, then was advanced to second and third on wild pitches in the next at-bat. Baumann recovered to get his 12th and final strikeout of the night, but gave up his lone run of the night on a 1-2 count single with two outs. Meyer came in and got a 4-3 groundout to end the inning. After seven JU led 3-1.
In the bottom of the ninth Spencer Stockton came in to relieve Santana. His second pitch was hit to Armstrong, who threw over to Fernandez on first in a close play. The runner was ruled safe, giving West Virginia a runner on base with no outs. A walk put runners on first and second with no outs, but Stockton showed his veteran presence by forcing a groundout and a strikeout.
On an 0-1 pitch with two outs the next Mountaineer again hit to Armstrong, and another close play was ruled safe, allowing West Virginia to tie the game at 3-3 and take momentum. A homer gave the Mountaineers a 5-3 victory.