Baseball: Enourato's Relief Punctuates Comeback

By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
February 27, 2010


  Chris Enourato

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Chris Enourato’s 3.1 scoreless innings pitched punctuated a comeback performance as the West Virginia University baseball team defeated Iowa, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at the Naimoli Complex in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Enourato (1-0) entered the game with the Mountaineers (1-4) trailing, 6-5, with two outs in the sixth inning. The rest of the way, the Bridgeport, W.Va., native struck out seven and gave up just two hits on 54 pitches.

“It was good to break the ice and get our first win, especially under our circumstances,” coach Greg Van Zant said. “Andy Berry pitched well for us and got better as the game went along. Chris Enourato also came in and really held Iowa down. If he doesn’t pitch the way he does today, it could have been a different outcome.”

Enourato also got help from his offense once he entered the game. In the bottom half of the sixth, Jedd Gyorko hit a one-out double down the left field line off left-hander Mike Jacobs, and Dom Hayes followed with a crucial two-strike RBI double that sliced down the left field line.

WVU then took the lead with a four-run seventh inning. Mark Dvoroznak put the Mountaineers ahead, 7-5, on an RBI single to right field. Hayes then reached on a fielding error by Iowa second baseman Mike McQuillan to score Dvoroznak and Brady Wilson, giving WVU the four-run lead.

Hayes and Malloy each finished with two hits for WVU, which posted season-highs in runs scored and base hits (9). Designated hitter Jeremy Gum went 1-for-3 with a two-run double and two sacrifice bunts, while T.J. Kuban, Wilson and Dvoroznak each tallied an RBI.

The Mountaineers were the beneficiaries of six errors committed by the Hawkeyes (2-2), as Iowa’s pitching staff consisting of right-hander Phil Schreiber, left-hander Jacobs and right-hander Patrick Schatz surrendered five earned runs. WVU also drew five walks and was much more patient at the plate than in game’s past.

Berry, making his first career start, gave up five runs in 5.2 innings pitched on nine hits with six strikeouts. The Virginia Beach native had good command all afternoon and improved as the game went on, striking out all six batters between the second and sixth innings.

Iowa jumped ahead early with a 2-0 lead on McQuillan’s RBI triple and Ryan Durant’s sacrifice fly in the first inning. The Hawkeyes padded their lead in the third frame when Sean Flanagan’s sacrifice fly and Dan Sheppard’s RBI single through the left side brought in two more runs to make it 4-0.

In the bottom of the third, West Virginia stormed back with four runs. Malloy hit an RBI single to right field, and Gum’s two-run double down the right field line trimmed the deficit to 4-3. Kuban then reached on a throwing error by third baseman Zach McCool that scored Malloy to knot the game at 4-4.

The Mountaineers have totaled five extra-base hits over the last two games against Indiana and Iowa, which included three doubles in today’s contest. WVU also got back to playing its trademark ‘small-ball” style, advancing runners on three sacrifice bunts.

WVU returns with its third game of the Big Ten/BIG EAST Challenge on Sunday afternoon against Michigan State at Al Lang Stadium. First pitch is set for 1 p.m., and the game can be seen on a live webcast by Collegebaseball360.com.