Tuneup Win

West Virginia squeezed in five innings of work and came away with a 6-2 win over Youngstown State in its final non-conference game of the season on Monday

The Mountaineers, fresh off a three-game weekend sweep of Cincinnati, rang up ten hits against the visiting Penguins in the weather-shortened, five inning contest. WVU had a pair of three-run innings in pushing its overall record to 35-14, which is just one victory short of the all-time school record for regular season victories.

Youngstown State dented the scoreboard first with a single run in the third, but WVU responded with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Justin Parks led off with a hit, Austin Markel reached on base on catcher's interference, and Jedd Gyorko tied the game with a single. Vince Belnome continued his hot hitting with another single to bring home two more runs and make it 3-1.

After another YSU run in the fourth, Gyorko started WVU's second big inning of the day with a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth. The Mountaineers fashioned two more runs on a pair of hits and a throwing error to account for the final score of 6-2.

WVU starter Chase Pickering battled through several jams to get the win. He allowed seven hits and gave up three walks through 4 1/3 innings, but managed to strand nine Penguins on base. Andy Altemus earned his third save of the season by getting the final two outs in the bottom of the fifth on just seven pitches.

Gyorko, Belnome and Joe Agreste each had two hits for WVU, while the former two each accounted for two RBI. Belnome took ove the team batting average lead as he pushed his hitting mark to .429, one point better than Dan DiBartolomeo's .428.

WVU is off until Thursday, when it begins a three-game series against Pitt to close out the regular season. The Mountaineers (16-8) trail league-leading USF (18-6) by two games and second place Louisville (16-7) by just 1/2 game in the conference standings. Those two teams play each other in a three game set, which could give the Mountaineers a chance to close ground and finish as high as second in the conference. While WVU has already clinched a spot in the Big East tournament, seeding is important, as the higher seed plays as the home team in each game.

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