A short bus ride down I-79 sure is more enjoyable when you’ve just defeated Pitt and West Virginia baseball was able to make it a party bus on Tuesday. WVU defeated the
worst school ever Pitt 8-4 with a monster fifth inning in the 193rd Backyard BaseBrawl in Pittsburgh.
Aggressive base-running and fielding errors allowed the Mountaineers (13-9) to score five unearned runs in the fifth inning to build an insurmountable lead. The Panthers (11-11) loaded the bases in the ninth, but could only manage three runs.
Cole Austin scored twice, picked up two hits and an RBI in his five plate appearances and Ivan Gonzalez drove in two runs on a suicide squeeze.
Isaiah Kearns threw only three and two-thirds innings, but picked win for the Mountaineers and is now 3-0 on the season. He gave up two hits, but struck out three and surrendered no runs. Dan Hammer took the loss for the Panthers in five innings of work.
WVU put runners on base each of the first three innings, but were unable to capitalize. Finally, the seal was broken in the fourth inning.
With one out and runners on second and third, Gonzalez laid down a sacrifice bunt to the third base side of the mound. That well-executed bunt easily scored Jackson Cramer. Austin scurried around third and was already headed for home by the time Hammer threw the ball to first. He slid home to put the good guys up 2-0.
The Mountaineers followed that with big fifth inning. Two fielding errors allowed WVU extra base runners and extra outs, leading to five unearned runs. Brandon White, Kyle Davis, Cramer, Cole and Darius Hill all touched home. The fifth ended with WVU up 7-0.
Pitt tried to scratch back but were only able to pull a run back in the seventh with a solo shot from Jacob Wright.
WVU added one more run in the top of the ninth inning. Austin continued his big day by scoring Braden Zarbinsky.
The Panthers loaded the bases with no out in the bottom of the ninth, but only picked up three runs as Jackson Sigman closed out the game.
The teams will meet again in Morgantown on Tuesday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m.
WVU now heads to Stillwater, Oklahoma, for a three-game series against Oklahoma State, Friday through Sunday.