Last Hurrah For a Legend
By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
May 27, 2010
CLEARWATER, FLA. – The eighth-seeded West Virginia University baseball team bowed out of the BIG EAST Championship with a 10-5 loss to No. 5 USF on Thursday evening at Bright House Field in Clearwater, Fla.
The bigger storyline is that junior shortstop Jedd Gyorko expects the final loss to be his last game in a Mountaineer uniform. With the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft looming on June 7, the Morgantown native plans to reflect on his star-studded career before setting his sights on his anticipated draft position.
And many hope he can culminate his career as a first-round draft pick, which would make him the first at WVU since former pitcher Chris Enochs went 11th overall to Oakland in 1997.
“This most likely has been my last game at WVU,” Gyorko said after his 2-for-4 performance with two doubles. “It’s been a good run here.”
Gyorko will leave his state university as the school’s career leader in batting average (.404), doubles (73) and extra base-hits (113). Gyorko is also tied for first-place on the school’s home runs list with 35 in just three seasons.
He also finishes his junior season batting .381 with 19 home runs, 57 RBIs, a record-tying 28 doubles, 90 base hits and 71 runs scored. For the tournament, he went 4-for-8 with two home runs, four RBIs, two doubles and two runs scored.
“Jedd has meant a lot to our program,” coach Greg Van Zant said following the season-ending loss. “He’s been a fun player to watch and coach, and we hope we can watch him succeed for the next 10 to 15 years.”
After getting ahead early, the Mountaineers (27-30) were done in by surrendering nine of 10 runs with two outs. WVU jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the bottom of second, but could not hold on once again as USF responded in the following inning with a momentum-changing three-run home run.
From there, USF starter Andrew Barbosa (8-2) gained tremendous confidence with his first lead of the day, tossing seven innings and allowing three runs on six hits with eight strikeouts. The 6-foot-8 left-hander gave up his second-most runs this season against a BIG EAST team.
Gyorko led off the game with an extra-base hit for the second straight time, driving a two-strike pitch to left center for his 27th double of the season, tying former Mountaineer Joe McNamee for second all-time.
In the bottom of the second, Jeremy Gum led off with a single up the middle, then advanced on a throwing error by Barbosa on a sacrifice bunt by Kevin Griffin. Freshman Matt Frazer followed with a hit-by-pitch, and Colin Durborow fought off a two-strike pitch to lift an RBI single to left field. Mark Dvoroznak then hit into a 4-6-3 double play that scored another run, making it 2-0.
One swing from USF’s Todd Brazeal eliminated WVU’s advantage as he hit a three-run home run down the left field line with two outs to give the Bulls a 3-2 lead in the top of the third inning.
In the fifth, USF tacked on another run. Jonathan Koscso hit a leadoff double to left center, then advanced to third base on a groundout by Sam Mende. With Brazeal at the plate, reliever Chris Enourato threw a wild pitch that scored Koscso from third base, making it 4-2. Brazeal then struck out swinging, and Andrew Longely ended the frame on a groundout to third base.
Gyorko smacked another two-strike double, this time for an RBI, in the fifth to cut WVU’s deficit to 4-3. Durborow led off with his second base hit, a single to centerfield. Dvoroznak’s bunt forced Durborow out at second base, but he scored from first base on Gyorko’s 28th career double, tying his career-high.
USF scored three of its biggest runs in the sixth inning. With two outs, Stephen Hunt hit a run-scoring single to right field, and Koscso followed with a big two-run single through the left side to put the Bulls up by a four-run cushion.
The Bulls added two more runs in the seventh, as Chad Taylor laced an RBI single to centerfield and Luis Llerna followed with another run-scoring single to the same spot, making it 9-3.
Gyorko recorded his 43rd walk of the year in the seventh inning, breaking the single-season school record of 42 held by Vince Belnome last season.
In the eighth, Griffin grounded out to third base to score Justin McDavid. In the ninth frame, pinch hitter Clark Sambuco smacked his first career home run on a moon shot to right field.
Freshman starter Michael Twigg (3-1) suffered the loss for WVU after allowing three earned runs on four hits in three innings pitched.
WVU finished with eight hits on the evening, while USF produced 12. The loss marks the third consecutive season WVU has lost to the Bulls to end its season.
Gum finished 3-for-4 with a double for the Mountaineers, while Durborow added two hits.
Senior pitchers Enourato and Andy Altemus also end their careers at WVU. Enourato spent four seasons as a Mountaineer and leaves as the school’s all-time career saves leader with 21, and boasts a 19-6 career record.
Altemus spent his last two seasons at WVU, and finishes his final year as the school’s single-season leader in appearances with 29.
The Mountaineers end their season with the second-most doubles in school history, tying the 2008 team with 135 two-baggers. Their 201 extra-base hits are tied for fourth on the single-season list with the 2003 squad.
Harrison Musgrave strikes out 14 in TCU victory
Around the Horn with Randy Mazey
TCU Postgame: Randy Mazey
TCU Postgame: Randy Mazey
Around the Horn With Randy Mazey
Randy Mazey Teleconference