MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - The West Virginia University baseball team got off to a quick start en route to defeating Siena, 14-2, in seven innings at Hawley Field.
A five-run first inning paved the way for a pressure-free afternoon from right-hander Billy Gross (1-2). The Frederick, Md., native pitched a complete game and gave up just one earned run on eight hits while striking out six.
Gross effectively mixed a repertoire of pitches to throw the Saints (2-14) off balance. Cushioned by a 9-0 WVU lead through two innings, the 2008 Team MVP enjoyed his best outing of the season as he looks to become a staple in WVU’s pitching rotation.
Siena’s C.J. Sohl (0-3) took the loss after giving up three earned runs in the first inning. The Saints were forced to use four pitchers as WVU pounded out 15 hits overall.
Dan DiBartolomeo’s 3-for-4 afternoon with three RBIs led the Mountaineers (11-5) at the plate. The Margate, N.J., native continues to impress at the bottom of the order as he bunted for a single in the first inning, laced an RBI single to left field in the second inning and hit another single down the left field line on an 0-2 pitch to score two more runs in the fifth.
Sharing the offensive load was Tobias Streich. The Johnsonburg, Pa., resident also knocked in three runs, including a two-run single down the left field line in WVU’s four-run second inning. Mark Dvoroznak, making his third start of the season, added two hits and two RBIs as the designated hitter.
Vince Belnome began the rout with a two-run double to right center in the first inning. Senior Joe Agreste followed with an RBI double to nearly the same spot to help WVU jump out to an early 3-0 lead.
Dvoroznak added a run-scoring single to left field in the second inning to plate Streich, giving WVU a 9-0 advantage at the end of the frame. Grant Buckner, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, added a run in the fourth when he singled to left field to plate Agreste and give WVU a 10-0 lead.
The Saints answered with two runs in the fifth, highlighted by a solo home run to left field by No. 8 hitter Juan Amador. In the bottom half, Jedd Gyorko’s run-scoring double down the left field line scored Justin Parks to extend WVU’s lead to 12-2, enabling the Mountaineers to earn the 10-run mercy rule as Gross got out of the seventh inning unscathed.
The Mountaineers finished their 10-game home stretch with an 8-2 mark. WVU defeated the Saints in three of four games over the weekend, and return home on March 31 for a matchup against Duquesne.
WVU travels to Morehead, Ky., to take on Ohio Valley Conference opponent Morehead State on Tuesday, March 17. First pitch is set for 3 p.m.