WVU advances to regional final

By Adam Grossman, WVU Sports

TUCSON, Ariz. – For the first time since 2017, the West Virginia University baseball team has advanced to an NCAA Regional final as the Mountaineers defeated Grand Canyon, 5-2, at Hi Corbett Field, Saturday evening. Overall, WVU is now 35-22 on the season while the Lopes fall to 35-24.
 
Unlike 2017 when WVU went through the loser’s bracket to make the regional final, this year’s team is 2-0 and will need to win just one more game to make its first Super Regional appearance in program history. First pitch on Sunday is set for 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. MST against the winner of tomorrow afternoon’s game between Grand Canyon and Dallas Baptist. The TV network is still to be determined.
 
Junior Tyler Switalski saved his best start of the season for Saturday as he threw 7.2 innings while allowing one run on six hits while striking out three. Graduate student Hambleton Oliverallowed one run in an inning of work before sophomore Carson Estridge earned his fourth save by getting one crucial out in the ninth.
 
At the plate, Brodie Kresser went 2-for-3 three with three RBI and a run scored. Senior Reed Chumley added a hit and scored two runs for the Mountaineers
 
The Mountaineer defense shined bright as well, turning three double plays along with a few highlight reel moments, most notably a catch by junior first baseman Grant Hussey in the seventh inning as he fell into the WVU dugout.
 
After Grand Canyon took the lead with a run in the second, Kresser evened up the game in the home half with two-out RBI single. The Iowa native gave the Mountaineers the lead a few innings later with a two-run single in the fourth.
 
Sophomore Ben Lumsden kept the line moving in the fourth inning with an RBI single, aided by a bad hop in the infield, before sophomore Skylar King pushed across a run with a fielder’s choice.
 
Switalski got through the fifth, sixth, and seventh relatively easy but allowed a pair of singles in the eighth which brought on Oliver from the bullpen. Grand Canyon’s Tyler Wilson sent the second pitch he saw from the right-hander deep to right, but Lumsden had just enough room on the warning track to make the catch.
 
The Lopes did not go down quietly in the ninth as they scored a run and had the bases loaded with two outs, but Estridge sealed the victory by getting his only batter of the night to ground out to shortstop.
 
For more information on the Mountaineers, follow @WVUBaseball on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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