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Wilkinson's grand slam highlights Golden Bears' Game 1 win

Apr. 26—Pinch-hitter Tyler Wilkinson hit a grand slam to break open a two-run game, Matthew Gainer overcame one rough inning and WVU Tech defeated IUP-Columbus 10-4 in the first game of their River States Conference Tournament play-in series Friday at Linda K. Epling Stadium.

The Golden Bears (26-20) led 6-4 going into the bottom of the seventh inning when they made things tough for the Crimson Pride.

Noah Cummings led off with a double, then Chase Herndon and Logan Spurlock both walked with one out to load the bases. Wilkinson pinch-hit for Francesco Calderon and crushed a pitch from Jackson Gilcrest over the wall in right field for a grand slam and six-run lead.

Tech reliever Wyatt Sisk held the Crimson Pride scoreless over the final two innings to close out the victory.

Gainer got the win as Tech took a 1-0 lead in the best-of-3 series. He scattered 11 hits over 6 2/3 innings and allowed four earned runs. He struck out six and walked two and left after his 100th pitch.

The Golden Bears took the lead with a three-run first.

Cummings drove in Hunter Fansler with a sacrifice fly. Broedy Boyce, who had singled, later scored on a wild pitch and Will Gray scored on a single by Herndon.

The Crimson Pride (10-41) answered with three to tie it in the top of the second. John Codner scored on an RBI groundout and Jared Ross scored on a single by Brevin Barker. Barker later scored the tying run on a double steal.

A triple by Herndon scored Gray and Herndon came home on Spurlock's single for Tech in a two-run third. Tech added an unearned run in the sixth when Jordan Thurmond reached on a two-out error and scored on a single by Fansler for a 6-3 lead.

Tarron White scored on Peyton Blinn's two-out single in the top of the seventh as the Crimson Pride got a run back before Wilkinson's blast.

The series will conclude Saturday in Beckley. Game 2 will start at noon. If the Crimson Pride win, a decisive Game 3 will start at 3:30 p.m.

The series winner will advance to the conference tournament starting Thursday in Chillicothe, Ohio.

Email: gfauber@register-herald.com; follow on X @gfauber5