The West Virginia University baseball team has won the season series and is still alive for a spot in the BIG EAST Tournament after a 10-8 win over USF on Friday night in front of 570 fans at Hawley Field.
With the WVU victory, a win by Cincinnati over Georgetown and a victory by Rutgers over Villanova, the Mountaineers postseason hopes continued. In order to clinch the No. 8 seed, WVU needs to defeat USF on Saturday, Cincinnati needs to beat Georgetown, Rutgers needs to beat Villanova and Louisville needs to beat Pitt.
"At least we're going into the last game of the season playing hard and having a chance," coach Greg Van Zant says. "We told our guys that you have to play all nine innings hard and in the conference we have nine weeks and you play all nine weeks. You never know what is going to happen, so we'll go out tomorrow and try to win the ballgame."
Virginia improved to 23-31 overall and 9-17 in BIG EAST play after
winning the season series against USF for the second straight year.
Tied 8-8 after four innings, freshman center fielder Bobby Boyd gave WVU the go-ahead lead by scoring on a sacrifice fly to center field by sophomore first baseman Ryan McBroom.
Junior catcher Alan Filauro added an insurance run to make it 10-8 in the eighth after leading off the inning with a single to right center field and scoring on a bloop single to right field by junior right fielder Brady Wilson.
WVU sophomore right-hander Josh Harlow (3-2) was the story of the night, coming into the game with the bases loaded in the top of the fourth and having the next batter popup. Harlow allowed just two hits in 5.2 innings, striking out three to earn his third win of the season.
"As a team we have been much more relaxed," Harlow says. "The odds are very much against us and we have nothing to lose, so why not just come out here and have fun. We've had fun the past two nights and have won two ballgames against arguably the best BIG EAST team."
Junior right-handed starter Dan Dierdorff was cruising right along until the USF bats came alive in the fourth inning. Dierdorff earned the no-decision, giving up eight runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings. Dierdorff struck out four batters.
The Bulls got on the board first with a solo home run by Kyle Teaf in the top of the second inning, but the Mountaineers bats came out in the bottom half and WVU scored six runs on five hits to take a 6-1 lead. A double to right center field by junior shortstop John Polonius drove in two runs, with Boyd, Wilson, sophomore third baseman Nate Antone and junior left fielder Chris Rasky driving in the other four runs.
USF came battling back in the fourth inning with two outs as eight-consecutive batters reached base before WVU could get the third out of the inning, tying the game at 8-8. Luis Llerena highlighted the offensive attack with a two-run double down the left field line.
Boyd, Wilson and Antone each had two hits for WVU, with Wilson, Polonius, Rasky and Antone each driving in two runs. All nine WVU hitters had at least one hit, seven scored at least one run and six had at least one RBI.
Alex Mendez led USF at the plate with a 3-for-4 performance, scoring two runs. Llerena, James Ramsey and Jimmy Falla had two hits apiece.
Joey Lovecchio took the loss for USF, allowing three runs on five hits in 3.2 innings of relief. USF starter Derrick Stultz lasted just 1.2 innings, and allowed six runs on five hits.
The Mountaineers and Bulls return to action tomorrow at 1 p.m. Live video, audio and stats are available at MSNsportsNET.com, while Kyle Wiggs and Ernie Galusky will bring the game locally on WAJR-1440 AM. Prior to the game WVU's lone senior, Eric Hinkle, will be honored.