By Steve Keenan
The WVU Tech baseball team finished its season-opening series with a pair of losses Saturday afternoon as 10th-ranked Cumberland (Tenn.) University recorded the sweep over the Golden Bears 6-5, 15-1 at Ernest L. Stockton Field-Woody Hunt Stadium.
The losses drop Tech’s record to 0-3 on the year, while Cumberland improves to 8-3 overall.
Senior right fielder Marc-Richard Culmer had four hits in two games to pace the Golden Bears’ offense. Senior third baseman Zach Sizemore added three hits and one RBI.
In game one, Tech was held scoreless until the fifth inning but grabbed a run off a CU error that left the bases loaded when senior left fielder Zeke Grissinger knocked senior designated hitter Raul Torres in on a fielder's choice at second base.
The Golden Bears grabbed their first lead of the contest in the top of the seventh inning after a Bulldog error and back-to-back singles from Sizemore and junior shortstop Austin Lucas, the latter who logged an RBI. Freshman first baseman James Utterback and freshman second baseman Jayson Sykora each drew a walk, scoring Culmer and Sizemore.
Freshman catcher Trevor Lam reached on a fielder’s choice for an RBI to give the Bears the 5-4 advantage by scoring freshman Zach Maynard, who was pinch running for Lucas.
Cumberland’s two-hit, two-run effort proved too much in the final inning and the Bulldogs came away with the 6-5 victory.
Freshman pitcher Arik McGinnis (0-1) pitched 0.2 innings, facing just five batters, for the loss. McGinnis’ collegiate debut included two hits, a strikeout and no earned runs.
The nightcap ended after five innings as darkness forced the umpires to call the game. The Golden Bears scored their only run of the game in the top of the fifth inning when Sizemore reached on a fielder’s choice, bringing in Maynard for the RBI.
Sophomore pitcher Tommy Weaver (0-1) was given the loss after pitching 2.1 innings, giving up six hits and seven earned runs. Weaver also recorded a strikeout.
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On Tuesday, the Bears dropped a 3-0 decision to Gannon University in their home opener at the Linda K. Epling Stadium in Beckley.
Right fielder Marc-Richard Culmer and third baseman Zach Sizemore supplied the offense for the Golden Bears in the loss. Culmer went 1-for-4 with a single, while Sizemore was 1-for-3.
Junior Craig Johnson (0-2) drew the start and took the loss after allowing one earned run over two innings. Johnson finished the day with the one run on two hits, striking out four batters.
Tech utilized six other pitchers out of the bullpen: freshmen Jordon Mounts, Arik McGinnis and Ryan Windon, juniors Josh Spears and Zack Thomas, and sophomore Tommy Weaver. Windon and McGinnis each recorded a strikeout for Tech.
Gannon starter Aaron Wilcox (1-0) claimed the win on six innings and two hits.
Tech returns to action for a doubleheader on Saturday, March 1 and the final game Sunday with a home series against the University of Cincinnati-Clermont beginning at 12 p.m.