Mountaineers Knocked Out

Walks proved devastating to West Virginia's hopes to advance to the finals of the Big East baseball tournament on Friday.

WVU pitchers issued ten free passes to Rutgers batters, and as is the case most of the time, the free baserunners proved to be too much to overcome as West Virginia was knocked out of the tournament in an 8-7 loss. Mountaineer pitchers also uncorked three wild pitches and hit two other Scarlet Knight batters.

The Mountaineers once again jumped out to an early lead, scoring two runs in the second inning and another in the third.

In the top of the second, Stan Posluszny walked and scored on Grant Psomas' triple. After Travis D'Amico walked, Jarod Rine singled to drive in Psomas, and the Mountaineers appeared poised for a big inning. However, Eric Grimm hit into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat and keep the Scarlet Knights in the game.

West Virginia added another run in the third, again courtesy of a walk. This time Tim McCabe walked, and after a Jake Serfass double Kurtis Clinton brought McCabe home with a sacrifice fly to make it 3-0.

In the top of the fourth, McCabe ripped a drive that easily cleared the left field wall, but was just foul. He followed it two pitches later by going the other way for a solo home run that boosted the WVU lead to 4-0. The twin blasts chased Rutgers starter Aaron Kalb, who gave up four earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.

Through the first four innings, Mountaineer starter Jason DiAngelo struggled with control problems, walking four Rutgers batters but staying out of trouble. That ended in the fifth, as the free passes and off target offerings came back to haunt the senior. Two hit Rutgers batsmen, two walks and a sacrifice fly brought home two Scarlet Knight runs without the benefit of a base hit and cut the Mountaineer margin to 4-2. DiAngelo then issued yet another walk to reload the bases which ended his night.

Ryan Lipscomb came on in relief, but in just two pitches yielded the lead. A wild pitch allowed one run, and a two run RBI single plated the go ahead run for the Scarlet Knights.

Lipscomb was then relieved by Chris Amedro, who promptly gave up an infield hit before finally ending the carnage with a strikeout.

Rutgers added three more runs in the bottom of the seventh to increase their lead to 8-4, and those runs would prove to be crucial.

Kurtis Clinton homered in the eighth to cut the margin to three, and then Tim McCabe smacked a two run roundtripper in the top of the ninth to cut the lead to one, but the Mountaineers could not get any closer.

Jarod Rine was 4-5 and McCabe 3-4 for West Virginia.

The Mountaineers will now have to wait for the NCAA selection committee to see if they can garner an at-large selection for post-season play. However, with Rutgers having won two games in the Big East tournament, the Scarlet Knights will probably have the inside track to an at-large berth. The selection committee begins meetings this weekend, with the announcements coming on May 26.

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