By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
April 9, 2009
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Jarryd Summers pitched eight strong innings and Austin Markel delivered a third-inning grand slam to lead West Virginia to a 9-3 victory over St. John’s Thursday night at Hawley Field.
Summers allowed just one run on five hits with seven strikeouts over eight innings to improve to 5-1 on the season.
“I just went out there and threw my fastball,” Summers said. “My breaking ball wasn’t working as well but I just threw the ball in the strike zone with my fastball and let my defense make plays behind me.”
Markel was one of five Mountaineers with more than two hits as West Virginia collected 14 hits against two Red Storm pitchers.
Dan DiBartolomeo went 2 for 5 with three RBI, Vince Belnome knocked in a pair of runs and Jedd Gyorko went 3 for 4.
West Virginia (24-6, 9-1) got all nine runs in the first three innings. The Mountaineers jumped on St. John’s starter Bruce Kern with three runs in the first.
Three straight singles by Justin Parks, Markel and Gyorko loaded the bases for Belnome, who came into the game leading the Big East with 45 RBI. Kern walked Belnome to plate Parks and after getting Tobias Streich on strikes, Dan DiBartolomeo delivered a double down the left field line to score Markel and Gyorko.
“We’ve got so many good hitters on the team this year and one hitter can have a down night and you don’t even notice it because we’ve got so many other guys that can hit the ball hard consistently,” Markel said. “We hit non-stop in practice and that just carries over into the game.”
West Virginia added another run in the second when Belnome was again walked with the bases loaded.
Kern got into trouble again in the third and was lifted with lefthanded hitting Markel at the plate with the bases loaded. Markel greeted St. John’s lefthander Kevin Kilpatrick with a smash over the right field wall to clear the bases.
“The pitcher just left a hanging curveball up in the zone and I was fortunate enough to put the barrel on it and hit it pretty good,” Markel said.
Kilpatrick drilled the next batter Gyorko with a high pitch and both dugouts received warnings. Gyorko eventually scored West Virginia’s ninth run on DiBartolomeo’s second hit of the night.
Summers was able to work around base runners in seven of the eight innings he pitched, inducing a pair of double-play balls in the second and eighth innings. The only run Summers allowed was in the sixth when Danny Benedetti singled in Tim Morris.
Justin Ellis got the first two outs of the ninth inning before giving way to Andy Altemus, who got Morris to ground out to DiBartolomeo to end the game.
“St. John’s is a great hitting team and I tried to make them swing the bat,” Summers said. “I’m sure they are going to come back out tomorrow determined so we’re going to have to be ready to play.”
West Virginia remains in first place in the Big East standings with a 9-1 record. USF, which beat Georgetown 11-3 earlier today, is a game behind the Mountaineers in second place with an 8-2 conference record. St. John’s (18-11) is third with a 7-3 mark.
The Mountaineers’ 9-1 start is their best in Big East play since joining the conference in 1996. Tonight’s win also snapped the Red Storm’s seven-game winning streak over the Mountaineers dating back to 2006. WVU has now won seven straight and 13 of its last 14.
“Game one is huge and that’s a good thing about having a guy like Jarryd Summers who can go out and shut a team down the whole game,” Markel said. “He’s going to keep us in every ballgame on Friday night and that’s huge. Winning the first game takes a lot of pressure off you to come back with some momentum in the next two games.”
Friday’s contest is scheduled for 5 p.m. at Hawley Field. WAJR-AM 1440 has added the game to its schedule and will broadcast it on a tape-delayed basis after the Statewide Sportsline at 7 p.m. The game will air live on the Internet through MSNsportsNET.com.
Lefthander Jonathan Jones (4-0) is scheduled to pitch for the Mountaineers Friday night.