PITTSBURGH — The edition of the Backyard Brawl on Tuesday evening saw the No. 21 Mountaineers take care of business against long-time rival Pitt, 9-4.
A hot batted pair of innings in the third and fifth innings, which saw the Mountaineers (32-18) plate three and two runs, respectively, as well as a slew of runs in the final four innings, saw the Mountaineers offense explode on Pitt pitching.
Following a quick first inning that saw Mountaineers left-hander Nick Snyder mow down the first three Panthers in a row, Pitt outfielder Nico Popa roped a lead-off solo shot down the left field line to lead off the second inning.
The Panthers (20-33) wouldn’t scratch any more runs across the plate until Cole MacLaren sent a three-run bomb to left field with no outs in the eighth inning off Mountaineers relief pitcher Dillon Meadows.
Meadows relieved Snyder after the left-hander allowed only three hits, two walks and struck out 11 Panthers through seven innings of work.
“The early innings I was kind of missing up a little bit, I think I was rushing toward the plate a little bit but fourth inning on I found my rhythm and I was able to locate the ball down in the zone and my slider got sharper as the game went on,” explained Snyder on his performance.
Following a TJ Lake double to left-center field and a Tevin Tucker bunt to lead off the seventh inning, Tyler Doanes ripped a double down the left field line to knot the score at one run apiece.
One batter later, Brandon White grounded out to second base to bring home Tucker before Darius Hill smashed a one out double to left center to plate Doanes for the 3-1 lead.
Pitt starting left-hander Chris Cappas lasted only four innings against West Virginia’s lineup after serving up three runs, five hits and one walk while striking out three Mountaineers in the process.
The fifth inning also saw the West Virginia offense explode for two runs, the fourth run coming on a Paul McIntosh reach of first base on a fielder’s choice which brought home Doanes for the 4-1 lead. The next Mountaineer batter, Ivan Gonzalez, shot a single to left field to plate Marques Inman for the 5-1 advantage.
With two down in the sixth inning, Darius Hill shot a double down the right field line to plate White for the five-run, and 6-1 insurance lead.
“Doanes hasn’t been swinging the bat all that great lately but he went down to Kansas State and got his swing off... and now it looks like he’s got his swing back, he’s driving some balls like he’s capable of,” said West Virginia head coach Randy Mazey.
West Virginia will now head home to Monongalia County Ballpark for their final series of the regular season with first pitch of Thursday’s game set to take place at 6:30 p.m. They will take on George Washington.