Tough Loss

West Virginia's baseball team can be proud of its play against #8 Louisville in its season opener, but the Mountaineers are likely kicking themselves over letting a signature win get away.

WVU held the lead through the first 7 1/2 innings of play, and at one point had a 5-1 advantage against the nationally ranked Cardinals. UofL showed its experience, however, rallying for a total of five runs in the fifth through the eighth innings to tie the score at 6-6 before smacking a walk-off home run to win the game in the bottom of the 10th.

Although the loss came early in the season, it's one that WVU might look back on ruefully in a couple of month, when every win will contribute to a potential NCAA berth.

The Mountaineers (0-1) got off to an excellent start in the game, fulfilling Mazey's thought that hitting might be improved up and down the lineup. Jacob Rice drove home Taylor Munden with an RBI single to give WVU a 1-0 lead after one, and Justin Fox doubled the output with an RBI single of his own to score Trevor Sims.

"Im really proud of the way our guys came out today," Mazey said afterward. "We were aggressive. If our guys can find a way to sustain that energy and that level of play throughout the season, I think we have a chance to have a great year."

Louisville got on the board with a solo home run in the bottom of the second to cut the deficit to 2-1, but the Mountaineers continued to batter starter Joe Filomeno over the next two innings. Ryan McBroom, who had three hits on the day, crushed a two-run homer to push the lead to 4-1, and one inning later Max Nogay drilled the foul pole to extend it to 5-1.

The uprising ended up working against WVU, as it chased Filomeno from the game in favor of reliever Jake Sparger. Sparger wound up turning in five solid innings, giving up just one run while on three hits.

Still, WVU appeared to be in command, but its defense let the Cardinals back into the game. A error by shortstop Taylor Munden put a runner aboard, and a wild pitch from starter Harrison Musgrave moved him to second. One batter later, Kyle Gibson singled to score a run and renew Louisville's hopes.

Things got even tighter in the bottom of the sixth, when the Cards (0-1) scored twice more on a two-run homer off Musgrave, who departed one batter later due to pitch count considerations. Pascal Paul came on to get two strikeouts and close the rally, but at 5-4 Louisville clearly had new life.

West Virginia scratched out its only run against Sparger in the seventh, when McBroom again delivered, this time with a single to score Bobby Fleming. That, unfortunately, proved to be West Virginia's final hit of the game.

Louisville wasn't done, however, getting back-to-back RBI doubles in the bottom of the eighth to tie the score before Jeff Gardner's home run in the tenth capped the comeback win.

Musgrave recorded seven strikeouts in 5.1 innings and walked just one batter, but yielded two home runs on his four hits allowed. Paul had five strikeouts in 3.1 innings, but likewise was damaged by a pair of big hits that resulted in the tying runs. Corey Walter pitched the tenth and got one out before Alexander hit Louisville's third home run of the day.

First baseman McBroom had three RBI on his three hits, while shortstop Taylor Munden and second baseman Billy Fleming had two. WVU recorded ten hits on the day, but left seven men on base.

WVU faces Delaware at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday in the second game of the three game swing in Charleston, S.C. Junior Sean Carley, a transfer from Air Force who sat out last season, will make his first appearance for the Mountaineers.

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