Season's End

West Virginia's baseball team needed a win against Georgetown on Sunday to get into the Big East tournament, but the Mountaineers collapsed in the top of the ninth en route to a season-ending 10-1 loss.

WVU needed both a win over the Hoyas and a Cincinnati loss to snare the eighth and final spot in the Big East tournament. Although the Mountaineers got the required Bearcat loss, they couldn't close on their half of the deal in getting blown out by the last place Hoyas.

For a time, it seemed as if WVU would repeat Friday's stirring comeback. Although West Virginia trailed 3-1 after seven innings, a score in the bottom of the seventh had the Mountaineers looking for another late inning rally. Instead, it was Georgetown that erupted, scoring seven times in the top of the ninth to end WVU's season.

Georgetown again jumped on top early, as right fielder Kelly Muir smacked a solo homer in the second to stake the Hoyas to a 1-0 lead. The margin doubled in the fifth as number nine hitter Tom Elliott led off with a double and scored on Derek DeGrijs' single. One inning later Joe Graziano came home on a fielder's choice to move the lead to 3-0.

Through four innings, West Virginia failed to get a hit or even put a man aboard against Hoya starter Jimmy Saris, who came into the game with a 3-5 record. Trent Ridgely broke up the perfect game bid with a double in the fifth, but WVU failed to capitalize. And in the sixth, another sacrifice bunt kept the Mountaineers from scoring.

In that inning, Chris Enourato walked to lead off the inning, and even though the Mountaineers trailed 3-0, the sacrifice sign was on for Justin Parks, who laid down a bunt and was put out. Enourato, however, was caught in a rundown and tagged out, leaving two outs with no one on. Adam White and Tyler Kuhn followed with singles that should have produced a run, but did not, and Justin Jenkins lined out to end the threat.

One inning later, West Virginia got on the board when Austin Markel laid down a bunt single and moved to third on a throwing error. Ridgley then singled to drive in Markel, and when Pape also got aboard via a hit, it looked as if the rally would be a big one. But Enourato struck out and Ridgely was thrown out trying to move to third -- a dubious move with two out that ended the inning.

Still, West Virginia seemed primed to rally, and a 1-2-3 Georgetown eighth reinforced the notion. Parks led off the eight with a hit, but leadoff hitter Adam White was again stuck with sacrifice duties, which traded one out for a base. Kuhn struck out, and although WVU loaded the bases with a walk and an error, Georgetown got a forceout at second on Ridgely's grounder to get out of the jam.

Perhaps that took some of the win out of WVU's sails, or more correctly, put some cracks in the dam. Georgetown proceeded to score seven times in a tidal wave top of the ninth, aided by two hit batsmen and a West Virginia throwing error. By the time the carnage was complete, the Hoyas held a 10-1 advantage. WVU went meekly in the ninth to end the season.

Starting pitcher Kenny Durst pitched a respectable game, allowing three earned runs in 6 2/3 inings of work. Although he allowed ten hits, just one (a double) went for extra bases, and he did not walk a batter. Enourato, who came on in relief in the seventh, was tagged for all seven of Georgetown's run in what was by far his worst outing of the year.

Ridgley was 2-4 at the plate and had WVU's lone RBI of the contest. The Mountaineers finish the season at 29-22 overall, and 10-16 in the league. Had West Virginia won, it would have captured the final playoff spot, owing to Cincinnati's loss to Louisville.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories