West Virginia's baseball team was once again projected to rely on its offense in 2009. But no offense can overcome the issuance of 16 walks, which is just the number that five of WVU's six pitchers combined to issue in a 17-10 loss to Illinois on Sunday.

The Mountaineers got off to their second good start in three days, scoring three times in the top of the first to take an early lead. Joe Agreste singled home Justin Parks and Tobias Streich doubled in Vince Belnome and Agreste to stake WVU to the early advantage. The Mountaineers added two runs in the second in similar fashion, as Jedd Gyorko's double plated, Parks and Justin Ellis, and capped their early scoring in the third when Agreste scored on a wild pitch after being sacrificed to second base following a leadoff hit.

Meanwhile, Illinois put together single runs in the first and second. Four walks by starter Chase Pickering forced in the first tally, and three more in the second helped set up an RBI single that cut WVU's lead to 5-2. Still, after three innings, West Virgina led by four runs at 6-2, but then the roof fell in. The Illini put up six runs in the fourth and eight more in the fifth, running through Mountaineer pitchers like water through sand. Four walks in the fourth set Illinois up with runners in scoring position throughout the frame, and by the time WVU was able to end the carnage, it trailed by 8-5.

Two innings later, the Mountaineers were still in the game at 9-7, but another outburst effectively ended the contest. Illinois scored eight times in the bottom of the sixth to push its lead to 17-7. Four more walks and a wild pitch were again keys in the scoring, as West Virginia simply could not find anyone who could get the ball over the plate.

WVU tried to battle back, and were able to add three runs to its final total. Markel added a two-run single to right field in the seventh, and right fielder Grant Buckner doubled to left center to plate Agreste for WVU's final run. However, even the double digit run output was far short of making up for Illinois' offensive production.

In all, WVU sent six pitchers to the hill, and none except for Andy Podolinski were effective. All 17 of the Illini's runs were earned, as WVU gave up 18 hits and hit another batter on an ugly day for the pitching staff. Among the Mountaineers' 16 walks were three with the bases loaded in the first, fourth and sixth innings.

Sophomore pitcher Marcus Broadwater (0-1) took the loss after coming out of the bullpen for freshman starter Chase Pickering. Illinois's Will Strack (1-0) took the win after replacing starter Ben Reeser, who gave up six runs on six hits in three innings pitched.

West Virginia had several hitting stars on the day. Parks was 3-4 and scored three runs, while Agreste was 3-5. Gyorko was 2-5 with two RBI, and Markel Austin was 2-6 while also driving in two.

The Mountaineers (1-2) close out their Florida trip with a game against Northwestern on Monday.

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