MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team used 13 hits to defeat USF, 6-3, on Thursday evening at Hawley Field in game one of the final BIG EAST series of the season.
With the win, WVU stays alive in the race for the final conference spot after it received help from Rutgers beating Villanova and Cincinnati defeating Georgetown.
Sophomore first baseman Ryan McBroom
and freshman second baseman Billy Fleming
led the Mountaineer offense with three hits apiece, including a home run from McBroom and a triple by Fleming. The Mountaineers improved to 22-31 overall and 8-17 in the BIG EAST while the Bulls dropped to 33-19 and 16-9.
The Mountaineer offense knocked around USF starter Andrew Barbosa (7-5) for four runs on nine hits in five innings. The nine hits were the most Barbosa has allowed all season with the previous high being six. Barbosa struck out five and walked one.
“That kid (Barbosa) is really good. Our hitters did a great job of getting ready to hit today and we got some base hits early,” coach Greg Van Zant says. “Our guys did a great job and you have to give a lot of credit to coach (Pat) Sherald on working with the hitters.”
Sophomore right-hander Corey Walter
(6-5) had another quality start for WVU, allowing three runs on six hits in eight innings with four strikeouts and five walks. Walter has gone into eighth inning during six-consecutive outings. Sophomore righty Josh Harlow
earned his third save of the season, recorded a perfect 1.2 innings with two strikeouts.
“Corey did a nice job,” Van Zant says. “It wasn’t his best outing of the year, but that says a lot when you’re not at your best and you can still give your team a chance to win.”
West Virginia struck first with a run in the second inning as Fleming scored on a sacrifice fly by freshman designated hitter Tyler Steele-Worsham
. Fleming advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and third on an error.
USF responded to tie the game at 1-1 in the third inning with a two-out bases loaded walk to Daniel Rockhold.
WVU took the go-ahead lead at 3-1 after three-straight singles in the fourth inning as sophomore left fielder Matt Frazer
drove in McBroom, and junior catcher Alan Filauro
drew a bases loaded walk to scored Frazer.
In the fifth, McBroom knocked his sixth homer of the season over the left center field wall to put WVU up 4-1.
A two-out single by McBroom in the seventh led to an RBI triple into the right center gap by Fleming, followed by a Frazer double down the left field line to score to insurance runs for a 6-1 advantage.
The Bulls came back in the eighth to score two runs, cutting the WVU lead to 6-3, but it was too little to late as Harlow entered the game with two runs on base and recorded the final two outs of the inning.
Game two on Friday is set for 7:05 p.m., and will feature live video, audio and stats via MSNsportsNET.com. Fans can locally listen to the game on WAJR 1440-AM with Kyle Wiggs and Ernie Galusky on the call. The game has also been designated as a “Dollar Night,” with all tickets, hot dogs, popcorn and Coca-Colas available for $1 each.