By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
March 18, 2003
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia pounded out 18 hits and Marty Fagler allowed three earned runs over 7 1/3 innings to defeat St. Bonaventure, 9-4 Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.
||Eric Grimm had three hits and three RBI to lead West Virginia to a 9-4 win over St. Bonaventure Tuesday night. (All-Pro Photography/Dale Sparks)||
Trailing 2-0 in the bottom of the second, the Mountaineers plated four runs after two outs off St. Bonaventure starter Aaron DeCoursey, who falls to 1-1 on the season.
Travis D’Amico got things going with a walk and he scored on Jake Serfass’ double to left field. Eric Grimm doubled in Serfass and Grimm scored on a sharp single down the left field line by Lee Fritz.
Fritz moved up to second on a wild pitch and was plated on Tim McCabe’s single down the left field line.
After scoring single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, West Virginia (9-6) got three insurance runs in the seventh.
With one out, D’Amico got the inning started once again with a single to center. Serfass followed with a single to advance D’Amico to second. Grimm laced a single to center to score D’Amico, and Serfass scored when St. Bonaventure shortstop Eric Wilson mishandled Fritz’ slow roller. McCabe cleaned up the inning with a deep sacrifice fly to center, plating Fritz from third.
After a rough first two innings, Fagler (1-0) settled down and pitched effectively. The lefthander allowed four runs, three earned, on eight hits with six strike outs and two walks.
John Riffle pitched the remaining inning and a third, striking out one and walking one.
“If we can get a couple of more arms pitching well I like our chances in the Big East,” said Grimm. “The pitchers are doing a phenomenal job and we’ve got to keep making plays for them out there.”
The top three hitters in West Virginia’s lineup accounted for nine hits. Serfass, Grimm and Fritz each had three hits.
McCabe went two for four with an RBI and a run scored, while Derek Cisar and D’Amico finished with two hits each.
With its 18 hits Tuesday, West Virginia increased its team batting average to .321 with an outstanding .512 slugging percentage. Despite having essentially the same lineup as last year, Grimm sees a completely different approach at the plate from his teammates.
“Everybody is playing with a little more confidence right now,” he admitted. “Everybody is loose, we’re just in there taking hacks. We’ve got Derek Cisar in there this year and he’s been a big part of the middle of our lineup. Kurtis (Clinton) is crushing the ball and Tim (McCabe) always crushes it.”
Perhaps the biggest difference has been the dramatic improvement made by Serfass, a junior outfielder who batted .250 in 21 games last year as a sophomore.
Serfass has 16 hits in 30 at-bats this year for a team-leading .533 batting average. His slugging percentage is .800.
“He is really confident and his swing is excellent,” Grimm said. “Right now he might be our best hitter. His swing is just beautiful to watch.”
Wilson went two for four for St. Bonaventure, which drops to 6-5 on the season.
The two teams will wrap up the two-game, mid-week series tomorrow at 3 p.m. Lefthander Zac Cline is scheduled to start for West Virginia.
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