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Eighth inning run lifts West Virginia over Pitt in Backyard Basebrawl

Late game heroics gave the Mountaineers a narrow 1 run win over those-who-must-not-be-named from up I-79.

Kevin Brophy celebrates his go-ahead sacrifice fly
John Lowe/The Daily Athenaeum

West Virginia Mountaineers: 5

Pitt Panthers: 4

On a beautiful day for baseball in Morgantown, the Mountaineers (17-11) (2-4) took the lead in the bottom of the 8th and defeated the Pitt Panthers (8-19) (2-10 ACC) to take Game 1 of the Backyard Brawl.

Pitt struck first in the 2nd inning on a RBI single to left field off the bat of 3B Andres Antonini that scored RF Nick Popa, but WVU rebounded in a big way in the bottom of the frame.

After Ivan Gonzalez drew a 1-out walk, Kevin Brophy hammered a pitch to left field for a 2-run dinger, his 5th of the season. Then, after a Phillip Dull strikeout, Tevin Tucker drew a walk and promptly stole 2nd to put himself in scoring position. Austin Davis delivered a couple pitches later with a RBI single to right field for his first collegiate RBI, making it 3-1 WVU. To cap it off, Tyler Doanes hit a double into the right-center field gap, allowing Davis to stride in all the way from 1st.

After that action-packed inning, the pitchers on both sides settled down.

Picking back up in the 6th inning, Coach Mazey went to his bullpen in right hander Dillon Meadows. He put 2 men on via a walk and a hit-by-pitch and surrendered a 3-run shot to left by 1B Bryce O’Farrell, tying the game at 4. That squandered another brilliant start by Nick Snyder, who has been an exceptional midweek hurler for the Mountaineers in 2019.

Snyder (4-1) threw 5 complete innings, allowing just 1 run on 1 hit and 3 walks, while striking out 5. After tonight, Snyder has a 1.75 ERA (best among all WVU starting pitchers) in 25.2 innings, with 38 strikeouts. The tall southpaw has been crucial to WVU’s success in midweek games this season, evidenced by the Mountaineers’ 6-0 record when Snyder takes the ball to start the game.

After Zach Ottinger threw a scoreless 7th and 8th inning for WVU, he got rewarded with his first collegiate win after Brophy lifted a sacrifice fly to deep right field, allowing Darius Hill to scamper home for the 5-4 Mountaineer lead.

Sam Kessler, the ever-reliable arm in the back of the bullpen, slammed the door on the Panthers with a 1-2-3 inning that included 2 strikeouts.

The Mountaineers will ride their 3 game win streak to Stillwater this weekend as they match up with the #23 Oklahoma State Cowboys (18-9) (5-1). OSU has gotten off to a blazing start in Big XII play, sweeping K-State, beating Oklahoma in a midweek game, and taking 2 of 3 from TCU. However, they’re coming off a disappointing 8-4 loss to Central Arkansas on Tuesday. Hopefully WVU can continue their good fortunes and earn a series victory over the Cowboys this weekend!