Parks Collects 200th Hit in Win
By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Justin Parks collected his 200th hit as the West Virginia University baseball team defeated Youngstown State, 6-2, in a game that was called after five innings due to inclement weather.
Parks singled to left center to jumpstart WVU’s three runs in the third, becoming just the 14th Mountaineer to reach the 200-hit milestone. Vince Belnome earned his 200th hit in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader against Cincinnati, and Austin Markel reached the benchmark in Sunday’s game to mark the first time that three WVU players have eclipsed 200 hits in the same season.
The Mountaineers (35-14, 16-8) are now one victory away from tying the school record for most regular season wins, which is 36 held by the 1998 team. WVU also finished the season 23-5 at Hawley Field, its best record at home since going 23-4 in 2003.
Sophomore Jedd Gyorko slammed his eighth home run of the season, including his fourth in the last eight games. The Morgantown native went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Belnome contributed with two hits and two RBIs.
Belnome is now three RBIs shy of breaking the school’s single-season RBI record held by Mark Landers, who drove in 81 runs in 1994.
Left-hander Chase Pickering (3-2) took the win for WVU after throwing 4.1 innings and striking out four while allowing two runs on seven hits. The Cross Lanes, W.Va., native made a habit of letting runners get on early, but managed to escape any potential jams by utilizing both his fastball and sharp curveball.
Junior Andy Altemus earned his third save in the shortened win. Altemus entered the game in the fifth inning with one out and runners on first and third, but managed to strike out C.J. Jones and force a lineout by Eric Hymel to end the threat.
Youngstown State threatened early and often, finally getting on the board in the third inning. Joe Iacobucci hit a two-out double to left center to score Jeremy Banks, but Markel made an accurate relay throw from center field to Gyorko, who gunned down Anthony Porter at the plate to end the inning.
WVU responded with three runs in the bottom half. With two outs, Parks hit a single to center field. Markel then reached first on catcher’s inference, and Gyorko followed with an RBI single to right center to tie the game at 1-1. Belnome then hit a first-pitch, two-run single down the left field line to give the Mountaineers a 3-1 advantage.
The Penguins (14-34, 10-14) came back with one run in the fourth. John Koehnlein lay down a well-placed bunt single to the left side with two outs to score Morris.
Gyorko hit a solo home run to right center in the fifth inning. Belnome followed with a single, then scored on a throwing error by catcher Jonathan Crist on an attempt to throw out Dan DiBartolomeo at second base. Joe Agreste then hit an RBI single to right center to bring in DiBartolomeo and make it 6-2.
Agreste finished the evening 2 for 3 with an RBI. Through WVU’s nine-game homestand, the Chesapeake, Va., native raised his batting average 22 points.
The Mountaineers wrap up their regular season with a three-game set at Pitt on May 14-16. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. on Thursday.