GRANVILLE, W.Va. — JJ Wetherholt’s season-opening tear continues.
The sophomore second baseman recorded four RBIs on two hits to lead West Virginia over Minnesota 15-7 at Wagener Field on Friday. With the win, WVU opens a three-game series on a high note and notches a second win in its four-game homestand.
Despite the lopsided final score, the Golden Gophers got off to a fast start and built formidable lead in the opening two innings. Sam Hunt scored the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to left field, before Drew Berkland and Brady Counsell hit in three runs to put Minnesota ahead by four in the second.
Grant Hussey sent WVU’s first run home with a groundout. Skylar King followed with a scoring groundout of his own — his first career RBI.
The game quickly swung in West Virginia’s favor in the fourth inning as the Mountaineers tied the game up at five, first with Braden Barry, who hit a double to left field to bring Tevin Tucker home. JJ Wetherholt then scored Barry on what appeared to be a routine pop fly to left field.
However, the ball was bobbled by Berkland, giving Wetherholt the opportunity to frantically round the bases. He crossed the plate after another error at home on the same play, making that an unofficial inside-the-park home run.
Wetherholt later got his homer in the fifth when he sent one into the left field bullpen, again scoring Barry. That was two of WVU’s four runs in the fifth inning, and preceded a five-run sixth inning.
Robby Porco (2-1) earned the win in relief for West Virginia after spelling starter Ben Hampton at the start of the fifth. He provided four quality innings, allowing one run and one hit with five strikeouts.
Hampton had a shake start, tossing 90 pitches in four innings with five runs on 10 hits.
Cadem Capoaccio (0-3) took the loss after relieving Tucker Novotny in the fifth frame. He allowed eight runs (six earned) on five hits.
Wetherholt, Barry and Caleb McNeely each recorded two hits for the Mountaineers. Shortstop Tevin Tucker added to his strong start, going a perfect 4 for 4 with two RBIs and a triple.
Counsell finished the day 4 for 5 with two RBIs for Minnesota.
The series continues Saturday with a 3 p.m. ET first pitch.