CHILLICOTHE, Ohio — For the first time this season, the West Virginia Miners are above .500.
And they're in first place.
The Miners beat Chillicothe for the third straight game and swept a doubleheader Thursday, 4-0 and 6-1 at VA Memorial Stadium.
West Virginia (7-5) has won seven of its last eight games after starting the season 0-4. The sweep put the Miners atop the Ohio River Valley Division standings, one-half game ahead of Champion City.
Denver Blinn hit a three-run homer in the first inning of Game 1 to immediately put the pressure on. Juan Familia led off with a double and Brendan Williams walked. One out later, Familia advanced to third and Williams was forced at second when Pat Mills reached on a fielder’s choice.
Blinn then homered on a 1-1 offering from Paints starter Jake Norris for a 3-0 Miners lead. It was Blinn’s second home run of the season.
He added a run-scoring single in the third.
Andrew Talkington, Jake Kinsell and Austyn Coleman combined to hold the Paints to five hits. Kinsell got the win in relief of Talkington, striking out three and walking two over two innings.
In the second game, Louis Lipthratt and two other pitchers combined on a two-hitter for the Miners. Lipthratt (2-0) gave up one hit and struck out seven. He has not allowed a run in 11 innings pitched and has 16 strikeouts to two walks.
The Paints (4-8) scored an unearned run with two outs in the seventh to end the Miners' consecutive scoreless innings streak at 20.
The Miners managed just eight hits combined over the two games.
The teams will meet in Chillicothe again tonight at 7:05 p.m. before returning to Beckley for a doubleheader on Saturday at 5 p.m. and a single game on Sunday at 6:35 p.m.