Baseball: WVU Splits With Saints
By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The West Virginia University baseball team split its doubleheader with Siena on Saturday afternoon at Hawley Field.
The Mountaineers (10-5) defeated the Saints (2-13) in the first game, 7-6, then stumbled in the second game, 9-6.
In game one, WVU needed a comeback effort after falling behind early. Down 2-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth, designated hitter Justin Ellis drew a bases loaded walk to knot the game at 2-2.
Siena responded with two runs in the fifth inning, but WVU matched the Saints with two of its own in the bottom half. Senior Austin Markel, who went 3-for-3 with two RBIs in game one, started the inning with a single to left center. With two outs, Joe Agreste came through with a key two-run home run down the right field line to once again tie the affair at 4-4.
The Saints continued to hit relentlessly, adding two more runs in the sixth inning. The Mountaineers followed with three straight singles to start the bottom half, then were aided by a two-RBI single from Markel to deep left field that plated pinch runner Mark Dvoroznak and Dan DiBartolomeo.
The go-ahead run was scored in the sixth inning courtesy of some clever base running by senior Justin Parks. With two outs and runners on first and third base, Vince Belnome was caught in a rundown started by Siena reliever Kyle Sumple between first and second base. With Belnome caught in a back-and-forth chase, Parks advanced to home plate before Belnome was tagged out to put the Mountaineers up 7-6 heading into the last frame of a seven-inning affair.
Senior Chris Enourato (3-0) came through in relief for WVU, earning the victory after pitching two innings and giving up one earned run on two hits. Starter Jonathan Jones took a no decision after giving up four earned runs on six hits with five strikeouts in five innings pitched.
Agreste finished game one with a 1-for-1 performance and three RBIs, which included a run-scoring sacrifice fly to left field in the first inning to tie the game at 1-1.
WVU finished with a season-low eight hits in game two as Saints starter Zach Hartman (1-3) took the win after giving up two earned runs on six hits in 6.2 innings pitched. Siena received an extraordinary performance from second baseman Dan Paolini, who finished the second contest 5-for-5 with two home runs and five RBIs.
The Mountaineers trailed 3-0 until getting on the board in the third inning when Markel’s sacrifice fly to right field plated DiBartolomeo to trim their deficit to 3-1. Markel, DiBartolomeo and catcher Tobias Streich led WVU with two hits apiece.
Facing a four-run deficit entering the fifth frame, WVU inched back into the game behind Jedd Gyorko’s three-run triple to center field. DiBartolomeo started the inning by advancing to first base on an error from third baseman Don DiPetta, and Dvoroznak followed with a single to right field. After Markel walked to load the bases, Gyorko hit a line drive that raced past centerfielder Jason DeFilippo to make it 5-4.
Gyorko’s sacrifice fly in the seventh and Buckner’s run in the eighth on a wild pitch were not enough to muster the victory. Starter Justin Ellis (1-1) took the loss after allowing five runs in 4.2 innings pitched, and Siena’s Anthony Giansanti earned the save to give the Saints their second victory of the season.
WVU concludes its weekend series against Siena with an afternoon matchup on Sunday, March 15, at Hawley Field. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.