Mountaineers end season in extra-inning loss to USF
Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 23:05
With its seasons on the line, and a spot in the Big East Conference tournament up for grabs, the West Virginia baseball team came up just short in a 5-4 loss to South Florida in 12 innings to end its season.
The Mountaineers trailed 4-1 through four innings, mostly due to the way South Florida was able to produce at the plate with two outs.
All four runs the Bulls scored in the first four frames came with two outs in the inning off of WVU starter Marshall Thompson.
"We came out this weekend and played well as a team. I’m proud of our guys," said first baseman Ryan McBroom.
"We always want to win games for Coach. He gave us the opportunity to come here and play ball, and I’m very thankful for that. We just came up a little short for him this year."
South Florida struck for two runs in the second inning when right fielder Anthony Diaz hit a two-run single up the middle.
After retiring the first two batters again in the next inning, Thompson gave up a single and a walk before South Florida catcher Blake Sydeski’s single into left field extended USF’s lead to 3-0.
The Bulls picked up another run in the fourth before the Mountaineers were finally able to get on the board in the form of a solo home run by right fielder Brady Wilson.
And West Virginia wasn’t done there.
Thanks to a great, gutsy effort by sophomore relief pitcher Ryan Tezak, who pitched eight innings in relief, the Mountaineers were able to stay in the game and give their offense some time to get on track.
"When I’m in the game, I want to pitch and I want the ball in my hands," Tezak said. "I just wanted to go as long as I could. I wish we could have pulled that one out, but I was just trying to give my team a chance to score some runs."
Then the rally started in the sixth inning.
Still trailing 4-1, West Virginia started the inning with a double by catcher Alan Filauro. After Filauro advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by Wilson, he was driven in by Bobby Boyd to cut the lead to two.
Shortstop John Polonius doubled to put runners on second and third before the Bulls intentionally walked McBroom to load the bases.
After USF starter Matt Reed walked second baseman Billy Fleming to make the score 4-3, left fielder Matt Frazer hit a sacrifice fly to deep-right center field that brought in the tying run.
Both defenses came up big after that, with Tezak leading the way for the Mountaineers and the group of Reed, Austin Adams and Steven Leasure pitching well for the Bulls. Neither team scored a run for the next five innings.
South Florida took the lead in the 12th inning, when pinch hitter Buddy Putnam grounded out to bring in Jimmy Falla for the go-ahead run.
Tezak took the loss for West Virginia, throwing eight innings while scattering seven hits and striking out seven. He gave up just one run.
"I wasn’t really expecting that. I haven’t thrown that much since, probably, my junior year of high school," Tezak said. "I just felt like I was out there for a while, but when you’re out there and you’re throwing, you don’t really think, ‘This is my seventh inning, this is my eighth inning.’ I felt good."
Leasure picked up the victory on the mound for the Bulls after pitching the final two innings and giving up just one hit.
Four Bulls finished the game with at least two hits, led by Sydeski’s 3-for-6 performance at the plate.