Baseball: Early Deficit Too Much for WVU
By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – An early three-run deficit in the first inning put the West Virginia University baseball team at an instant disadvantage as it fell to Connecticut, 9-2, on Friday afternoon at Hawley Field.
Connecticut’s first three batters produced base hits, and second baseman L.J. Mazzilli capped the inning with a two-out RBI single up the middle to put the Huskies (15-7, 3-2) ahead, 3-0. Although the Mountaineers (13-13, 2-3) chipped away with a run in the third on a Jedd Gyorko sacrifice fly, they surrendered six runs between the fourth and eighth innings to put the contest out of reach.
Gyorko’s RBI puts him in sole possession for seventh-place on the school’s career RBI list, passing Kurtis Clinton with 144. The Morgantown native finished 0-for-2 with two walks.
Just when WVU was gaining some momentum after scoring in the third, catcher Doug Elliot padded the Husky lead with an RBI single to right field in the fourth inning, followed by a run-scoring groundout from Mike Olt in the fifth to make it 5-1. Kevin Vance’s infield single in the seventh gave UConn a 7-1 lead, and an RBI groundout by bottom hitter John Andreoli extended the advantage to 9-1.
WVU’s Justin McDavid recorded his 17th RBI of the season in the bottom of the eighth on a fielder’s choice.
The Mountaineers produced just five base hits, as McDavid, Matt Malloy, Grant Buckner, Mark Dvoroznak and Brady Wilson tallied one hit apiece. Junior Dom Hayes went 0-for-3 on the afternoon to end his hitting streak at 10 games, tying freshman Matt Frazer for the team high this season.
UConn starter Greg Nappo (3-3) had one of his best outings this season, giving up two runs on four hits with two strikeouts in 7.2 innings pitched. Reliever Dan Feehan entered the contest in the eighth and did not allow a run.
WVU starter Jarryd Summers (1-4) endured the loss, giving up six earned runs in 6.1 innings pitched. Early in the game, the Sharpsville, Pa., native retired seven consecutive batters, and was able to fan six Huskies on the afternoon.
Reliever Matt Morrone pitched the final 1.1 innings and did not allow a hit with one strikeout, retiring all four batters faced.
WVU tries to salvage the three-game set on Saturday afternoon against UConn at Hawley Field. First pitch is scheduled for noon.
Saturday’s game is also “Through with Chew Ball Day,” as the first 250 kids get a free baseball courtesy of Through With Chew. WVU players will be available for autographs following the game in the home dugout.