The West Virginia Mountaineers defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers, 9-4, Wednesday night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
This was the 206th edition of the Backyard Brawl rivalry, with the first game taking place in 1895 at Exposition Park in Pittsburgh.
WVU (26-11, 5-4 Big 12) trailed but came back and scored nine unanswered runs to win.
Pittsburgh (16-19, 7-9 ACC) led 4-0 early but was unable to score after the third inning.
The Panthers would get on the board right away in the first inning, scoring two runs on three hits. Pitt first baseman Noah Martinez drove in Pitt’s initial run with an RBI single, scoring third baseman Sky Duff.
Shortly after, second baseman Justin Acal plated a run with a single of his own, scoring Martinez.
In the third inning, Ellis Garcia's error gave Pittsburgh its third run of the game, as Martinez — who doubled to start the inning — scored from second base, as the ball got past Garcia into right field.
Right-hander Carson Estridge struggled in his start for West Virginia, only going 2.1 innings, giving up three runs and two earned. He also gave up five hits but had the strikeout pitch going with six Panther strikeouts.
Right-hander Gavin Van Kempen relieved Estridge in the third inning. One more run would come into score with left fielder Caleb Sturtevant’s single bringing in center fielder Kyle Hess from third.
West Virginia would finally get on the board at the bottom of the third.
With the bases loaded, left fielder Landon Wallace hit a dribbler down the third base line, which was mishandled by Duff at third base. It was ruled a hit and designated Logan Sauve scored from third.
Catcher Dayne Leonard fouled off a number of pitches in an exciting at-bat versus Pitt starter Matthew Fernandez. On a full count, Leonard grounded the ball up the middle for a base hit, bringing in shortstop Tevin Tucker and third baseman Sam White.
Center fielder Braden Barry would tie the game on an infield single to shortstop, with Wallace scoring. Sauve would walk with the bases loaded in his second plate appearance of the inning, forcing Leonard in to score.
In the fourth, a wild pitch by Pitt reliever Jonathan Bautista got past catcher Johnny Long III, and Tucker was able to advance two bases, from second to home, as WVU scored its sixth run of the night.
Run number seven came from a McNeely single, with Wallace running home from third. The scoring ended after a sacrifice fly from Barry.
In the bottom of the sixth, McNeely smacked his ninth home run of the season into the bullpens in left-center field.
West Virginia defeated its archrival in the first of three meetings this season. The next game against the Panthers is on May 3 in Morgantown.
Van Kempen (2-0) got the victory for West Virginia, while Fernandez (1-3) took the loss for Pittsburgh.
WVU will begin a weekend series with conference opponent TCU on Friday, April 21. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Monongalia County Ballpark.
The game can be watched on ESPN+, and fans can listen to the game on U92 the Moose.