Jaesung Hwang was making his second start in nine days against the Butler BlueSox. They couldn’t do anymore against him this time around than they could the first.
Hwang shut out the BlueSox for the second time, adjusting his arsenal from last week’s performance. The result was a 3-0 win for the West Virginia Miners on Saturday at Linda K. Epling Stadium.
Hwang (2-0) went seven innings, holding Butler to five hits while striking out eight and walking one. He also went seven innings in a 5-0 win at Butler May 30, when he struck out four and allowed just three hits.
“Usually I go with the same thing, a slider-fastball mix, especially on my two-seam, because I have a lot of sinking motion on my two-seam,” said Hwang. “But today my splitter and cutter came along, so everything started working.”
Hwang, who goes simply by “J,” made sure to change things up so the BlueSox hitters could not become familiar with his repertoire. He threw in a curveball to keep them honest.
“The last time I faced them I only used a slider and a fastball,” he said. “So this time I went to give them different looks so they didn’t catch up to me. I used four pitches and they just couldn’t time me right. They kept hitting ground balls and the five hits I gave up were weak. They were still full, but they somehow got them out of the infield.”
West Virginia manager Tim Epling was impressed that Hwang was again able to dominate one of the Prospect League’s best teams.
“Butler is the hottest team in the league,” Epling said. “My hat’s off to Butler. They are a very good team, and J pitched a very good game.”
The game served as the debut for several Miners, and they made an immediate impact.
University of Hawaii outfielder Kaeo Aliviado said aloha with a two-run single that gave the Miners a 2-0 lead in the sixth. One of the players to score on the play was Liberty University product Nick Paxton.
Zach Barr worked a perfect eighth to hold Hwang’s lead, and James Woods induced three groundouts to shortstop Brandon Koch in the ninth for his first save. Barr, out of Central Arkansas, and Woods, from Radford, were both playing for the first time.
“It was the unknown that I was kind of apprehensive about tonight,” Epling said. “We’ve got new guys here and I’m just going to throw them in there. Usually I give them a day (but) I was hoping they would just go out there and play hard, and that’s what happened.”
The new players provided a new level of speed to the Miners lineup. Aliviado chased down a fly ball in foul territory in left field for an out, Doug Votolato — Barr’s Central Arkansas teammate — nearly beat out a ground ball to second and Paxton took second on a throw home when he singled on the at-bat before Aliviado’s two-run single.
Paxton, who had 21 stolen bases at Liberty this spring, drove in the third run on a sacrifice fly.
BlueSox starter Matt Warren took the loss, giving up five hits and two earned runs over six innings.
The teams will play again at 5:05 p.m. today. David Hess will start for the Miners against Butler’s Anthony Caringi.
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BB: 000 000 000 — 0 5 1
WVM: 000 002 10x — 3 6 0
BB: Matt Warren, Colin McKee (7), Reid Noah (7), Adam Tyson (8) and Russell Clark, WVM: Jaesung Hwang, Zach Barr (8), James Woods (9) and Jordan Parris. WP — Hwang. LP — Warren. Hitting — BB: Alex Miklos 1-4, Matt Peters 1-4, Cody Herald 1-4, Tyler Detmer 1-3, Clark 1-3, WVM: Kaeo Aliviado 1-4 (2 rbi), Pat Kregeloh 1-4, Griffin Moore 1-4, Zach Woolcock 1-3 (run), Parris 1-2 (run), Nick Paxton 1-2 (rbi).
Records: BB: 6-5; WVM: 5-6.