Baseball: WVU Falls in Series Finale
By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Two big innings by Connecticut propelled it to a 14-3 victory over the West Virginia University baseball team in the series finale on Saturday afternoon at Hawley Field.
The Huskies (16-7, 4-2) completed the series sweep by posting six runs in the third inning and seven runs in the sixth frame. The Mountaineers (13-14, 2-4) held UConn scoreless in six of the nine innings, but could not avoid the big play from the Husky offense.
UConn managed to score an abundance of runs with two outs in the third inning. Nick Ahmed’s infield single scored Billy Ferriter to make it 1-0. Mike Nemeth then struck out swinging to give the Huskies two outs before several runs crossed the plate. Mike Olt, the following batter, slapped a pitch between first baseman Justin McDavid and second baseman Brady Wilson that scored two runs after first base was not covered in time.
Following Olt’s infield single, designated hitter Kevin Vance stepped to the plate and hit a three-run home run to break open the contest at 6-0.
WVU tried to chip away with a run in the fourth inning, as junior shortstop Jedd Gyorko led off with a line-drive double to right center. The hit placed him in a tie with former Mountaineer Austin Markel for fifth-place on the school’s career extra base hits list with 82.
Junior Dom Hayes then hit an opposite-field single to left field, allowing him to reach base safely in 25 of his 27 games played this season. Freshman Matt Malloy then hit a full-count pitch up the middle for an RBI single to trim WVU’s deficit to 6-1.
WVU’s other two runs came in the eighth inning, as Gyorko singled through the left side to plate Mark Dvoroznak. After McDavid’s single to right field loaded the bases, Chris Rasky drew a walk to bring in the Mountaineers’ final run.
Gyorko garnered his 11th multiple hit game of the season, going 2-for-5 with an RBI, a double and two runs scored. WVU produced nine base hits altogether, while UConn came away with 13.
Left-hander Eric Hinkle (2-2) took the loss for WVU after giving up six earned runs on nine hits with two strikeouts in 5.2 innings pitched. The Ocean Township, N.J., native started the game well, retiring his first seven batters while throwing minimal pitches.
Reliever Matt Morrone made his second appearance in the three-game set, allowing one earned run in the final 3.1 innings pitched.
Connecticut starter Matt Barnes (5-0) extended his undefeated season after allowing one run on four hits with five strikeouts in seven innings pitched. Reliever Ted Hurvul gave up two runs in the eighth inning, and Scott Oberg shut out WVU in the ninth.
WVU is back at Hawley Field for a matchup against Towson on Tuesday, April 6, at 4 p.m. The Mountaineers and Tigers are even at 2-2-1 in the all-time series.