By Gary Fauber Assistant Sports Editor
There wasn’t much for West Virginia Miners manger Tim Epling to be happy with after his team dropped its home opener 6-3 to the Jamestown Jammers on Thursday night.
He also knows to take it in stride. It was, of course, just the second game of the season.
Miners pitchers combined to walk seven batters. Offensively, West Virginia stranded 13 runners.
Not a good combination.
“We outhit the other team (but) they took care of our free passes,” Epling said. “That’s all. But I think those things will work themselves out. Time will tell. We’ve still got three or four days of evaluation, trying to get comfortable, and we’ll go from there.”
The game started exactly the wrong way when Miners starter Logan Campbell walked leadoff hitter Eric Solberg on four pitches. Solberg later scored on Dominique Jackson’s groundout to give the Jammers a 1-0 lead.
Jamestown, a new Prospect League team which won its first-ever game 5-3 over Butler on Wednesday, was ahead 3-1 and had chased Campbell when it broke the game open in the sixth.
The Jammers scored three runs in the inning despite getting just one hit. Reliever Connor Faix walked Brad Hartman and Bram Johnson and hit Solberg to load the bases with nobody out. Okevius Conway singled to left to drive in Hartman, and the bases remained loaded.
Johnson scored when Jackson walked to make it 5-1.
Faix then struck out Vinny Mallaro and Cole Heili back-to-back, but Solberg scored on a wild pitch for a 6-1 Jammers lead.
Miners relievers James Doubet and Joshua Falbo dominated the last three innings. Doubet struck out five in a row, and Falbo struck out two of the four batters he faced in the ninth.
“That dude (Doubet) came in there and really put on a show,” Epling said. “That was a very pleasant surprise, for him to come in there like that. And Falbo came in throwing strikes. And the other guys will be all right. Campbell will be fine. After they get the nerves out, they will be fine.”
It was too little too late. West Virginia (1-1) got runners on base, but often with two out, and could not bring them home.
The Miners left two runners on in the first and third innings and the bases loaded in the seventh.
The second game of the series will start at 7:05 p.m. today. Kroger will sponsor a canned food drive, in which it will match cans donated by fans up to 1,000.
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The Miners will start a new promotion Saturday that will run through the season.
King Coal Preowned Super Store of Oak Hill will sponsor a contest in which a fan will get the chance to throw a Nerf football 35 yards into the window of a 2014 Chevy Cruze. If they do so, they win the car.
The contest will run at every home game this season, even if a car is won.
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