Baseball: WVU Keeps Playoff Hopes Alive

By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
May 18, 2007


  Jason Pape

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Justin Parks scored on a wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth inning to give West Virginia a 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Georgetown Friday evening at Hawley Field in Morgantown.

With the game tied at three going into the ninth, Parks went to first when he was plunked by Hoya reliever Jack Bender. Then Georgetown couldn't handle a couple of West Virginia bunts to load the bases. Adam White reached safely when Bender couldn’t come up with his sacrifice attempt, and another perfectly placed bunt by Tyler Kuhn down the third base line loaded the bases.

Bender was lifted for reliever Mark Dutmers, who tossed the game-winning wild pitch.

It was an uphill battle for the Mountaineers all afternoon, trailing 1-0, 2-1 and then 3-1 after the fourth inning.

West Virginia (29-21, 10-15) got a run in the sixth when Jason Pape’s double down the leftfield line scored Austin Markel, who singled to lead off the sixth. Pape's RBI made the score 3-2, Georgetown.

WVU tied the game in the bottom of the eighth when Pape once again delivered a big hit, this time tripling off Bender to score Trent Ridgley. Chris Enourato had a chance to knock in Pape, but popped out to right to end the inning.

West Virginia got another complete-game performance from its starting pitcher. Matt Yurish scattered three runs on seven hits, walking two and striking out seven to run his record to 4-5. Josh Whitlock tossed a nine-inning gem on Thursday night.

Kuhn went 3 for 5 with an RBI; Pape had a pair of hits and two RBI for the Mountaineers, which claimed just its second conference series of the season. West Virginia also improves to 19-6 at Hawley Field in 2007.

Georgetown starter Michael Gaggioli pitched six strong innings, giving up two earned runs on six hits. Bender pitched the final two innings to take the loss, dropping to 2-3.

Matt Inannetta slugged his third home run of the season in the fourth and finished the game 2 for 4. Matthew Bouchard also had a pair of hits for the Hoyas, now 20-34, 7-19.

The victory keeps West Virginia’s playoff hopes alive. The Mountaineers are chasing Connecticut and Cincinnati for the last two playoff spots. Villanova got into the Big East tournament earlier today with a 5-4, 12th-inning victory over Rutgers. Notre Dame clipped Connecticut 5-4 in South Bend, and Cincinnati got past Louisville 4-2.

A West Virginia win coupled with a Cincinnati loss would get the Mountaineers into the Big East tournament as the No. 8 seed. In that scenario, the Mountaineers would barely stay ahead of UConn in the BIG EAST standings by league win percentage.

Tomorrow’s regular-season concluding game will get underway at 1 pm. Junior lefthander Kenny Durst (5-4, 4.57 ERA) will start for the Mountaineers.