WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – Justin Pennybacker hurled a masterful two-hit shutout and the West Liberty University baseball team handed regionally-ranked Glenville State a 2-0 loss in the first game of Sunday's doubleheader at Kovalick Field.
The Pioneers (13-3, 1-1), No. 7 in the most recent NCAA Division II Atlantic Region rankings, got their bats going in the second game to earn a split with Coach Eric Burkle's Hilltoppers (1-14, 1-1) in the mutual Mountain East Conference opener.
Glenville entered Sunday's twinbill with six starters batting over .300 but never mounted a serious threat against the veteran West Liberty righthander.
Pennybacker, a junior from nearby Brooke High School, held the Pioneers to a bad-hop infield single in the second inning and a line drive single to right in the seventh. He needed less than 90 pitches to go the distance for the complete-game shutout win, striking out 5 and giving up only one walk. Glenville never got a runner past second base.
West Liberty was held to just four hits by Pioneer starter Diego Tamariz but also worked four walks and took advantage of the game's only error to stake Pennybacker to an early lead.
Kayne McGee led off the second inning for the Hilltoppers with a double off the base of the wall in center. After Jacob Probst drew a one-out walk, James Salvatori moved both runners up with an infield grounder.
With two out, Isaac Rine hit a slow roller toward the second baseman who whiffed on the pickup, allowing McGee to cross the plate with the first run of the game.
Pennybacker nursed that one-run lead into the sixth before a two-out RBI single by Ty Helmke provided a bit of breathing room before heading back out to finish off the win.
The Pioneers turned the tables on WLU in the second game with ace Adam Riggleman teaming up with Zach Bayor on a three-hit shutout.
Riggleman, now 5-0 on the season, struck out 11 and walked two before running out of gas in the seventh. Bayor came on to get the final two outs and complete the shutout. Helmke had two of West Liberty's three hits.
The Hilltoppers return to Kovalick Field on Monday for another Mountain East Conference doubleheader as Concord heads to the hilltop for a 1 p.m. twinbill.
West Liberty 2, Glenville State 0
Glenville State 000 000 0 - 0 2 1
West Liberty 010 010 X - 2 4 0
GSU: Tamariz lp (7SO, 4W), Bayor (5) (1SO, 0W) and Kampes.
WLU: Pennybacker wp (5SO, 1W) and Rine. Helmke S, rbi; McGee D
Glenville State 10, West Liberty 0
Glenville State 232 003 0 - 10 14 1
West Liberty 000 000 0 - 0 3 1
GSU: Riggleman wp (11SO, 2W), Gifford (7) (1SO, 0W) and Kampes. Barton D, 2S; Escalante D, S, 2rbi; Kampes D, S, rbi; Agosto 2S, rbi; Morris 2S; Smith HR, 2rbi; Mangum D, 2rbi
WLU: Studd lp (1SO, 3W), Conley (2) (1SO, 0W), Cerjan (4) (2SO, 0W), Hurst (6) (0SO, 1W), Geis (7) (1SO, 0W) and Z.Hawkins. Helmke 2S