The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

May 29, 2013

No Slippery start for Miners

W.Va. begins Prospect League title defense with 8-1 win over Slippery Rock

Two batters into the game, West Virginia Miners manager Tim Epling felt a mound conference was necessary.

“I saw right off the bat that they (Slippery Rock) were going to be an aggressive team and they were going to try to put pressure on us,” Epling said of his visit with opening night starter Kevin Johnstone.

Epling’s words did the trick.

Johnstone settled down after a 20-pitch first inning to throw seven innings of one-run ball in his Miners debut, an 8-1 win in front of 867 fans at Beckley’s Linda K. Epling Stadium.

The right-hander from Case Western Reserve, a NCAA Division III school in Cleveland, scattered four hits and allowed one run for West Virginia (1-0), the reigning Prospect League champion. Nearly the entire roster is new — only pitcher Kolin Stanley returns — but, at least for one night, it appeared that Epling found a jewel in Johnstone.

“I thought it was pretty good,” said Johnstone, a 6-foot-2 Placentia, Calif., native. “I would have liked to put up a zero (shutout), but one run I’ll take any day.”

Johnstone finished with an even 100 pitches, but only 80 over his final six innings. He threw 64 pitches for strikes and left after the seventh with four strikeouts and two walks.

“Kevin did a great job,” Epling said. “He kept the ball around the plate like I thought he would. He didn’t walk a lot of guys. I think he handled the first game jitters very well.”

“I think it was just trying to find the zone,” Johnstone said. “(It was my) first time pitching off a turf mound, first time pitching in front of a lot of people. I think I just had to find the zone a little bit.”

After allowing a leadoff single to Lance Barkley, Johnstone fell behind 1-0 to Gentry Kinsella and Barkley stole second base. That prompted an early visit from Epling.

“That surprised me,” Johnstone admitted. “He was just telling me about my pauses. I paused not a very long time and (Barkley) ran on me. So he wanted me to mix that up. That was about it.”

“I said, ‘You’re going to have to listen to me.’ We’ve got some signals, some verbals, and I said, ‘You’re going to have to slidestep every once in a while,’” Epling said.

Johnstone went on to battle Kinsella, eventually with a strikeout looking. He dominated the rest of the way and didn’t give up a run until the seventh, when Trey Rogers doubled to lead off and eventually scored when Dan Hurliman hit into a double play.

By then, the Miners were already ahead 8-0.

Catcher Robert Tavone was 3-for-5 with a double and run batted in. Left fielder Dale Davis and center fielder Josh Merrigan both had two hits, as West Virginia finished with 11.

The Miners turned three double plays and did not commit an error, even with many players out of position.

“With a skeleton crew,” Epling said, smiling. “We went out and I told them, ‘None of you have done anything like this. It’s still 90 feet (between bases) and 60 feet, 6 inches (from the pitching rubber to the plate). There is a lot of foul territory. You’ve been playing this game your whole life. Go out there and have fun.’”

Concord junior and Oak Hill graduate Dustin Nuckels pitched the final two innings. He worked around leadoff walks in each and faced just seven batters. The Miners turned a double play in the ninth, and Nuckels struck out Matt Calhoun

Slippery Rock starter Ryan Ahrens took the loss. He was victimized by four errors — only one of the four runs he gave up was earned. He allowed five hits, struck out two and walked two.

The teams will play again tonight, with Carson-Newman right-hander Quinton Yocom starting for West Virginia against the Sliders’ David Wilson. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.

— E-mail: gfauber

@register-herald.com

SR:    000    000    100    —    1 4 4

WV:    021    140    00x    —    8 11 0

SR: Ryan Ahrens, Travis Clark (5), Alex Watson (5), Kevin Becker-Menditto (8) and Morgan McCasland, WV: Kevin Johnstone, Dustin Nuckels (8) and Robert Tavone Jr.. WP — Johnstone. LP — Ahrens. Hitting — SR: Lance Barkley 1-4, Trey Rogers 1-3 (R, 2B), Matthew Calhoun 1-4, Morgan McCasland 1-4, WV: Kenny May 1-4, Dale Davis 2-4 (RBI), Josh Merrigan 2-5 (R), Cameron Balough 1-4 (R), Robert Travone Jr. 3-5 (R, RBI, 2B), Vince Bartolone 1-4 (2 R, RBI), Phillip Mandt 0-1 (2 R), Andrew Fraziers 1-3 (R, RBI).

Records: West Virginia Miners (1-0), Slippery Rock (0-1).

1
Text Only
College Sports
  • Miners stop Lorain County 5-1

    The West Virginia Miners received a strong outing from starting pitcher Patrick LaGanke, and scored one run in each of the final five innings to defeat the Lorain County Ironmen 5-1 Thursday.

    July 25, 2014

  • Some topics of interest to area fans

    Tom Hart, a widely known retired Morgantown High School administrator and coach, continues to excel as one of the nation’s top bowlers

    July 25, 2014

  • 072514 WVU Replacing Sims a challenge for WVU

    Every year, almost every college football preview publication available lists one key statistic that most use to evaluate the prospects for any given football team — returning starters.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU’s Worley clear starter at cornerback

    There were few bright spots in West Virginia University’s 4-8 football campaign last year, and even fewer on the defensive side of the football, where the Mountaineers gave up more than 455 yards and 33 points per game.

    July 24, 2014

  • Holgorsen to appear on ESPN special

    West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen will appear Wednesday on ESPN’s annual mid-summer college football coaches’ “car wash” — in which guests appear across multiple programs and platforms over one day.

    July 23, 2014

  • Holgorsen: WVU getting comfortable in new league

    Dana Holgorsen remembers the glory days of West Virginia University football — the ones that included conference championships and BCS bowl wins. In fact, he was part of one of those, leading the Mountaineers to a Big East championship and an Orange Bowl victory in his first season as head coach in 2011.

    July 23, 2014

  • 072314 miners Miners take series with Paints

    The way the West Virginia Miners see it, they don’t have the luxury of planning for tomorrow.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU's Fleming signs with Yankees

    Second baseman Billy Fleming of the West Virginia University baseball team has signed a professional contract with the New York Yankees, foregoing his upcoming senior season.

    July 22, 2014

  • WVU to kickoff 2018 season against Tennessee in Charlotte

    The Charlotte Sports Foundation (CSF) announced Tuesday morning that it has secured a regular season college football game for the city of Charlotte pitting the University of Tennessee against West Virginia University.

    July 22, 2014

  • Can summit of bigwigs really solve college athletics issues?

    I see where the Big 12 Conference is going to host in New York City what will be titled “A State of College Athletics Forum.”

    July 22, 2014

Saints Training Camp