Dukes Blanked

West Virginia unlimbered its bats and got stellar pitching in a 14-0 whitewashing of Duquesne on Tuesday.

Big hits and stellar pitching form an unbeatable combination, and that's what West Virginia displayed in routing the Dukes in an out-of-conference game on Tuesday at Hawley Field in Morgantown. Tyler Kuhn had an extra base extravaganza with a home run and two doubles, while Justin Parks matched Kuhn's hit total with three safeties of his own. Three Mountaineer pitchers combined for the shutout, with Matt Yurish (five innings), Jarryd Summers (three) and Jordon Yost (one) teaming up to hold the Dukes to just five hits.

As has been the case in many of its wins this year, WVU got off to a great start. The Mountaineers scored four runs in the first as Parks walked, moved to third on Kuhn's first double of the game, then came home after walks to Jedd Gyorko and Vince Belnome. Austin Markel then reached on a bunt single to score Kuhn, and Gyorko followed him home one batter later when Yost grounded out to third. Another bunt single, this one from Dan DiBartolomeo, plated Belnome for the final run of the inning.

DiBartolomeo struck again in the third inning with a sacrifice fly to score Joe Agreste, but WVU missed the chance to add more runs, as they had the bases loaded with one out. However, that turned out to be a momentary blip, as the the Mountaineers kept the pressure on by scoring three runs in three of the next four innings to turn the game into a rout.

In the fourth, WVU manufactured a trio of runs as Parks was hit by a pitch, moved to third on another Kuhn double, then scored on a wild pitch. Gyorko's sacrifice fly and Markel's double accounted for the other two runs. The fifth was a power show, as Kuhn's three-run homer, his seventh of the season, brought home Parks and DiBartolomeo. In the seventh, Belnome and Yost followed Kuhn's lead with home runs to account for the final margin.

In gaining the win, Yurish struck out seven, but walked five and hit a batter while allowing four hits. Although the resulting 10 baserunners gave the Dukes several scoring opportunities, crisp fielding and timely plays kept the visitors off the scoreboard. Duquesne stranded eight runners throught the first four innings, and ended up leaving 13 runners aboard overall.

Summers bounced back with three solid innings of middle relief, striking out seven of the thirteen batters he faced. Yost pitched a perfect ninth to close out the win.

West Virginia (27-9, 7-5) returns to conference action at home on Friday with a huge three-game series against Notre Dame. The Irish currently lead the leage with a 10-2 mark, and are 22-9-1 overall. West Virginia holds down fifth place with its 7-5 league mark. The top eight teams in the league make the Big East championships, which begin on May 20.

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