Capitalization Counts

For part of Sunday afternoon, it didn't look like West Virginia was going to be able to get in the final game of a three-game set against Rutgers. However, when the weather finally cooperated, the Mountaineers took advantage in pounding out a 9-3 win.

As it has in many of its wins this season, the Mountaineers jumped on opposing pitching early. WVU staked starting pitcher Billy Gross to a 5-1 lead after two innings and scored all of its runs in the first four frames.

Designated hitter Vince Belnome opened the WVU attack with a run-scoring single in the first. After the Scarlet Knights tied the game at one-all in the top of the second, West Virginia put up a four spot to give Gross some breathing room. Second baseman Colin Durburow, left fielder Justin Parks and Belnome had RBI singles while shortstop Jedd Gyorko added a sacrifice fly to give the home team a 5-1 lead.

Rutgers added another single run in the third inning to make it 5-2, but West Virginia again responded, this time courtesy of third baseman Dan DiBartolomeo, who crushed a home run to center field to restore the four run lead.

Rutgers scored its final run in the top of the fourth, but WVU put the game out of reach in the bottom of the inning as Parks led off with a solo homer and Belnome cleaned up with a two-run single.

Meanwhile, Gross gave the Mountaineer bullpen some rest by twirling a complete game. He allowed eight hits and three runs, but walked just two batters while striking out three. Gross finished the game strongly, shutting out the Scarlet Knights over the final five innings of the game.

Belnome took hitting honors for the day, recording a 3-5 outing at the plate with four RBI. Gyorko was 3-4, while Parks and centerfielder Austin Markel had two hits apiece.

Up next for WVU is a crucial three-game homestand against Cincinnati beginning on May 9. The Bearcats trail the Mountaineers by two games in the league standings. WVU trails third place St. John's by one game and second place Louisville by 1 1/2.

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