WVU Eliminates Irish

West Virginia knocked Big East power Notre Dame out of the conference tournament with a 13-6 victory on Wednesday afternoon.

The Mountaineers, who fell behind early in its opening round loss to Cincinnati, turned the tables in its game against Notre Dame by scoring eight runs over the first two innings to put the Irish in a deep hole. Rookie of the year Jedd Gyorko's grand slam in the second, coupled with Austin Markel's three-run blast in the first gave WVU all the runs it needed to survive and advance in the tournament.

Justin Parks started WVU's offensive parade with a leadoff double. Tyler Kuhn singled, Vince Belnome walked, and Joe Agreste sacrificed with the bases loaded to bring Parks home. Markel then completed the inning with his tater to put WVU up 4-0.

Notre Dame cut the lead to 4-1 in the top of the second, but West Virginia responded in a big way with Gyorko's grand slam in the bottom of the inning, which moved WVU's advantage to 8-1.

The Irisih chipped away at the lead with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, cutting the margin to 8-3, but West Virginia had yet another big inning in its offensive arsenal. The top of the order was again the key, with an RBI triple by Parks, Kuhn's run-scoring single, and a pair of doubles by Gyorko and Belnome accounting for four of the runs. Gyorko scored WVU's final tally on a wild pitch and a balk to make the score 13-3.

Notre Dame tried to get back into the game, but managed just single runs in each of the final three innings to make the final score 13-6.

WVU starter Stephen Morrison was solid if not spectacular, allowing five earned runs in seven innings. Reliever Chris Enourato pitched the final two innings, giving up one run while striking out three.

The top of the order carried the hitting load for WVU. Kuhn was 4-5 with three runs and and RBI, while Jedd Gyorko added two hits and five RBI. Parks and Markel added two hits each to WVU's 12-hit attack. Parks and Kuhn each scored three times.

It was a bad day for the top-seeded teams in the tournament, as #2 St. John's was also eliminated from competition. West Virginia faces sixth-seeded South Florida at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday. The Bulls dropped an 11-1 decision to Cincinnati to fall into the lower bracket for its matchup against WVU.

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