CLEARWATER, Fla. – Eight runs in the first three innings for Seton Hall powered the Pirates to a 10-4 victory over the West Virginia University baseball team on Wednesday evening at Bright House Field in the first round of the 2011 BIG EAST Championship.
West Virginia scored four runs on 13 hits with two errors, with Seton Hall scoring eight runs on 13 hits and one error.
The Mountaineer hitters were able to get after Seton Hall starter Joe DiRocco, who allowed three runs on nine hits in seven innings pitched. Henry Warner and George Fernandez each pitched one inning of relief for Seton Hall.
"Baseball is game dominated by starting pitching and they had a first team all-conference guy out there who is really good," coach Greg Van Zant said. "To have a chance to win, we were going to have to pitch really well, which we didn't do."
For the second time in less than a week, freshman Josh Harlow came in and provided the Mountaineers with great long relief pitching. Harlow finished the game with 7.1 innings pitched and allowed six runs on 10 hits. Redshirt freshman Marshall Thompson started for the Mountaineers but lasted just 1.2 innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits with walks and a strikeout.
Redshirt junior Dan DiBartolomeo, freshman Isac Franklin and sophomores Chris Rasky, Matt Malloy and Brady Wilson all had two hits apiece for the Mountaineers. Malloy also scored a run and had an RBI.
Seton Hall jumped out to an early 4-0 lead after one inning that was highlighted by an A.J. Rusbarsky single down the right field line that scored Dale Anderson and Sean Gusrang.
After a scoreless second inning, Seton Hall extended its lead to 5-0 in the top of third when Frank Esposito doubled to left center field, scoring Will Walsh. The Pirates then loaded the bases and Mike Genovese hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Esposito. Michael Betz scored on a balk by Harlow and Zack Granite scored on a triple by Gusrang to bring the score to 8-0.
The Mountaineers got on the board with an RBI single to left field by DiBartolomeo to cut the score to 8-1 in the bottom of the fifth. Malloy scored on the hit after leading the inning off with a single up the middle. Redshirt senior Mark Dvoroznak followed with a single to center field, before Wilson grounded into a double play.
WVU then scored two in the bottom of the sixth after loading the bases with no outs. Franklin hit an RBI ground out to first base scoring redshirt senior Jeremy Gum and Malloy hit a sacrifice fly to center field that scored Rasky, bringing Seton Hall’s lead to 8-3.
West Virginia rallied in the bottom of the eighth, but was only able to get one run out of it to bring the game to 8-4. Senior Justin McDavid singled to start the rally, followed by singles from Franklin and Malloy to load the bases. Dvoroznak then legged out an infield single to shortstop to score McDavid, before Wilson hit a hard liner to shortstop that Dvoroznak was doubled up on.
Seton Hall added two runs in the top of the ninth that was highlighted by an Esposito triple to right field.
Esposito led the Seton Hall offensive with a 3-for-5 performance at the plate. Esposito also scored two runs and drove in two runs. Gusrang and Walsh each went 2 for 5 at the plate with Gusrang driving in two and Walsh scoring two.
The Mountaineers will play the loser of No. 1 Connecticut and No. 8 Notre Dame on Thursday evening at 5 p.m. at Bright House Field. The contest will air once again on WAJR.