WHEELING, W.Va. – The West Liberty University baseball team dropped both ends of a season-ending doubleheader against Wheeling on a sunny Monday afternoon at the I-470 Baseball Complex.
Coach Eric Burkle's Hilltoppers (12-38, 12-20) were shut out, 1-0, in the first game and saw the host Cardinals (22-27, 18-14) come from behind for an 8-4 victory in the finale.
In the opener, Ian Brady went the distance on the mound to take the hard-luck loss for the Black and Gold. Brady held Wheeling to just five hits while striking out seven and issuing only one walk. The Cardinals scored their only run in the bottom of the second on a two-out RBI triple.
The Hilltoppers never got anything going at the plate against WU righty Dominic Parker-McDonald. The junior hurler fired a complete-game three-hit shutout, striking out five and walking one. Jarrett Delbrugge's double with two out in the bottom of the third was West Liberty's only extra-base hit.
The Black and Gold jumped on the Cardinals quickly in the second game, scoring three unearned runs with two out in the top of the first to stake starting pitcher Justin Studd to a 3-0 lead. Studd held Wheeling to one run on two singles over the first four innings and the hosts tacked on another score in the fifth against reliever Sam Aulick.
The floodgates opened in the bottom of the sixth as the Cardinals exploded for six two-out runs - four of them unearned - to take an 8-3 lead into the top of the seventh. Ty Helmke tripled and came home on a Jake Sherman sacrifice fly to end the scoring for West Liberty.
Helmke had a multi-hit game with a single and triple while Sherman, Connor Ferguson and Zach Hawkins all singled and drove in a run for WLU.
Wheeling 1, West Liberty 0
West Liberty 000 000 0 - 0 3 0
Wheeling 010 000 x - 1 5 0
WLU: Brady (7SO, 1W) and Rine. Delbrugge D
WU: Parker-McDonald (5SO, 1W) and Cameron. Heavilin D, S; Murray T, rbi
Wheeling 8, West Liberty 4
West Liberty 300 000 1 - 4 6 1
Wheeling 000 116 x - 8 6 2
WLU: Studd (4SO, 0W), Aulick (5) (0SO, 1W), Dobson lp (6) (1SO, 2W), Conley (6) (0SO, 1W), Bolander (6) (0SO, 0W) and Rine. Helmke T, S; Ferguson S, rbi; Z.Hawkins S, rbi; Sherman S, rbi
WU: Shaw (0SO, 2W), Tripi (3) (2SO, 0W), Pinsker (5) (0SO, 0W), Rife wp (6) (1SO, 1W), Dalton (7) (0SO, 0W) and Charlton. Skantze D, 2rbi; Iazzetta D, 2rbi; Watt D, 2rbi