By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
March 16, 2010
GAME ONE BOX SCORE | GAME TWO BOX SCORE
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Behind solid pitching performances from starters Eric Hinkle and Jonathan Jones, the West Virginia University baseball team swept Niagara in a doubleheader by scores of 6-0 and 8-2 on Tuesday afternoon at Hawley Field.
Both pitchers enjoyed their best outings of the season. Hinkle (1-1), a left-hander from Ocean Township, N.J., threw 5.1 shutout innings and surrendered just five hits while striking out eight in 22 batters faced. Hinkle showed consistency with his pitches on the mound, tossing 58 of 96 for strikes.
Hinkle received some offensive support in game one, as the Mountaineers (7-9) scored five runs in the opening inning. Junior Jedd Gyorko started the scoring with his second consecutive leadoff home run to left center in the bottom of the first. Two batters later, Grant Buckner singled to give him his 100th career base hit as a Mountaineer.
Freshman catcher Matt Malloy followed with a run-scoring single through the left side, and Justin McDavid opened the game with a two-run single to centerfield. Mark Dvoroznak capped the inning with a well-placed bunt single that scored Colin Durborow, making it 5-0.
Durborow had a career day, blasting his first two home runs of his career in both games. The Gibsonia, Pa., native hit a solo shot to left center in the third inning of game one to put the Mountaineers ahead 6-0, and hit a two-run home run down the left field line in game two to once again extend WVU’s advantage to 6-0 in that game.
“Durborow had good at-bats,” coach Greg Vant Zant said. “He didn’t have an extra base hit the whole season and he’s a pretty good hitter so it’s good for him to hit a couple balls out of here. Mark (Dvoroznak) also had some good at-bats and hit some balls hard.”
Buckner led WVU with three hits in game one, while freshman Matt Frazer and Durborow followed with two apiece. WVU produced 12 base hits in each game, and provided early run support for both starters.
Reliever Andy Altemus wrapped up game one by allowing no hits and striking out two in 1.2 innings pitched.
Jones (2-1) took control of the Purple Eagles (2-13) in game two with his off-speed pitches, giving up just one run on three hits while striking out seven in 5.2 innings pitched. He fell one strikeout shy of tying his career high of eight, which he set last year against both USF and Georgetown.
WVU gave Jones a four-run cushion in the first inning of game two. Gyorko and Dom Hayes each began the contest with walks before Buckner hit a long sacrifice fly to centerfield to plate Gyorko. Frazer then connected a pitch for an RBI single down the right field line, and McDavid drove a pitch through the right side for a two-run single.
Buckner later scored Hayes with an RBI single to right center, and Hayes gave the Mountaineers their eighth run with a run-scoring double to right center. Hayes finished game two going 2-for-3 with an RBI double and triple. Buckner, Durborow and McDavid led WVU with two RBIs apiece in the second game.
McDavid was also the only Mountaineer to finish both games with multiple RBIs. He leads WVU with five multiple RBI games this season.
“We just have to work to get better,” Van Zant added. “If we’re going to be a good team all of our hitters are going to have to hit better. We had some good at-bats and some bad at-bats, but we just have to keep working to get better.”
Senior reliever Chris Enourato entered game two in the ninth inning, giving him his record-breaking 59th career appearance at WVU.
Niagara starters Dennis Chachko (0-1) and Geoff Strong (1-1) took the losses in games one and two, respectively.
WVU finishes its first homestand of the season with a four-game series against Eastern Michigan this weekend. First pitch is set for Friday, March 19, at 3 p.m.