Key Move

West Virginia's baseball team has had a number of key moves and rallies during the 2008 season, but none may have been more important than the one that covered the field during Sunday's game against Louisville.

Trailing 4-0 after 5 1/2 innings, and with a downpour imminent, coach Greg Van Zant convinced the umpires to cover the infield with a tarp before rains made the field unplayable. WVU managed to do just that, and although a rain delay of two hours then commenced, the field was kept dry enough to resume play.

Thus enabled with a second chance, West Virginia battled back for an improbable 5-4 victory, which put them within one win of a spot in the Big East tournament.

West Virginia, now 13-11 in the league, would have to lose all three of its remaining conference games (at Cincinnati this weekend), as well as see Villanova, South Florida and Rutgers all sweep their upcoming weekend series, in order to miss the postseason tournament. The Mountaineers put themselves in that position by rallying furiously against the visiting Cardinals.

Louisville build its lead with three runs in the fourth and another in the sixth before the rains came. However, quick work by WVU's team to get the tarp in place kept the infield in good shape after the two-hour delay, and the Mountaineers didn't waste their chance. When play resumed in the bottom of the inning, Justin Parks walked and Tyler Kuhn singled. Both runners advanced on an error, and freshman standout Jedd Gyorko brought Parks home with a hit. Vince Belnome then forced Gyorko, but Kuhn scored to halve the deficit to 4-2.

The score remained there until the bottom of the ninth, when Joe Agreste and Grant Buckner reached to put the tying runs aboard. Pinch hitter Brent Lockhart doubled to drive in Agreste, and Parks followed with another hit to score Buckner and tie the score. Lockhart was thrown out at the plate trying to end the game, but with momentum firmly established on West Virginia's side, it only took one more inning for the home team to complete its comeback.

In the tenth, Tyler Kuhn walked, moved to second on Gyorko's sacrifice bunt, then romped home on Vince Belnome's single to cap the rally and give WVU the series.

West Virginia completes its non-conference schedule with a Monday game against Youngstown State at Hawley Field. The first pitch is set for 4 p.m. WVU wraps up the regular season with a three-game series at Cincinnati on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.


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