WVU Closes Home Season with Backyard Brawl

  • By Charlie Healy
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  • May 15, 2017 06:18 PM
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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Winners of three in a row and four of its last five, the West Virginia University baseball team plays its final home game of the regular season with a Backyard Brawl matchup against Pitt on Tuesday, May 16, at 6:30 p.m. ET, at Monongalia County Ballpark.
The contest is a Gold Rush, and all fans are encouraged to wear gold to cheer on the Mountaineers. There will be postgame fireworks, presented by Coca-Cola, and fans can play baseball bingo and win WVU prizes throughout the game.
The two teams meet for the 194th time and the second time this year. WVU posted an 8-4 win at Pitt earlier in the season. The Backyard Brawl is WVU’s oldest and most-played rivalry. The Mountaineers are 105-88 all-time against Pitt and have won eight of the last 12 meetings.
The Mountaineers (30-20, 11-10 Big 12) are coming off a two-game sweep of Gardner-Webb. The weekend began with a 15-5 win and closed with a 4-3 victory on Senior Day. With the final series of Big 12 play this weekend, WVU is tied for fourth place in the league with an 11-10 record, one game out of third place and two games out of second.
The Panthers (22-27, 8-19 ACC) come to Morgantown having lost their last six weekend ACC contests but winning five consecutive non-conference games. Before getting swept by NC State last weekend, Pitt beat Youngstown State, 3-2, in 10 innings last Wednesday.
Tickets are still available for Tuesday’s game. Fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-WVU GAME, purchasing tickets at WVUGAME.com or at the Mountaineer Ticket Office at Gate A of Monongalia County Ballpark on gameday or in advance at the Gold Gate at the WVU Coliseum.
Tuesday’s Backyard Brawl will be streamed for free on WVUsports.com. Fans can listen to the game on the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG on various affiliates throughout the state, online at WVUsports.com, on the Mountaineer Gameday App and the TuneInRadio App. Dan Zangrilli and Ernie Galusky will call the action.
Links to video stream, radio broadcast and live stats can be found on the baseball schedule page on WVUsports.com.
Additional behind-the-scenes updates, news and notes from Monongalia County Ballpark can be found on social media by following and connecting with the team at @WVUBaseball on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
There are several parking and shuttle options for fans to make cheering on the Mountaineers even easier again this season.
Free parking will be available for all fans in the parking lots behind the outfield fence. Lot 1 is located behind the right field wall and adjacent to the clubhouse facility at the ballpark, and lot 2 is located across the street from Gate A.
A limited amount of ADA accessible parking will be available on a first-come, first-served basis for free in the lot closest to Gate A. The lot is located behind the left-center field wall, behind the scoreboard. An ADA parking permit will be required to park in the spots reserved for ADA parking.
Free shuttle service for WVU students will also be offered to each WVU baseball home game this season through WVU Transportation. Student must have a valid WVU Student ID to ride the shuttle. The shuttle will pick up at Towers and the Mountainlair, making two trips beginning 90 minutes before first pitch, and returning following the game.
Pitt is 22-27 on the season and 8-19 in the ACC. The Panthers are 12-12 at home, 4-13 on the road and 6-2 at neutral sites.
NC State swept the Panthers at home last weekend. Pitt lost the opener, 7-4, before an 8-6 loss on Saturday and a 14-6 defeat on Sunday. Pittsburgh’s season-ending homestand began last Wednesday with a 10-inning, 3-2 win over Youngstown State.
The Panthers are led by 20th-year head coach Joe Jordano. The winningest coach in program history, Jordano is 558-493-2 at Pitt and 841-611-2 in his career.
Following an 8-4 win earlier this season in Pittsburgh, West Virginia leads the all-time series against Pitt, 105-88. WVU is 61-38 at home, 41-48 in Pittsburgh and 3-2 neutral sites. The Mountaineers are 6-3 under coach Randy Mazey.
The Backyard Brawl is West Virginia’s most-played and longest-running rivalry. The two teams first met in WVU’s fourth season, 1895. The Mountaineers won that first game, 13-6, in Pittsburgh.
In 1981 and ‘82, and again from 1996-2012, West Virginia and Pitt were conference rivals. First in the Eastern 8, and then in the Big East. As conference foes, the series is knotted at 27-27.
WVU and Pitt have met every season since 2008 and twice a year since 2013. WVU has won eight of 12 since 2012.
This year, on March 28, at Pitt, WVU scored two runs on a suicide squeeze and added five unearned runs in an 8-4 victory.
  • West Virginia scored two runs in the fourth inning before breaking out with five runs in the fifth, all unearned and with two outs.
  • On the mound, five WVU pitchers combined to hold Pitt to one run on three hits in the first eight innings before Pitt’s three-run rally in the ninth fell short.
  • The Mountaineer pitching staff got its strong day started with 3.2 innings from freshman starter Isaiah Kearns. He did not allow a run on two hits with three strikeouts.
  • Four relievers followed Kearns, three of them freshmen, to allow one run on one hit in 4.2 innings through the eighth inning.
  • Offensively, Jackson Cramer and Cole Austin each had two of WVU’s seven hits, while Ivan Gonzalez had a hit and a team-high two RBIs on a perfectly executed suicide squeeze.
West Virginia concludes the regular season at this weekend Texas. The series begins on Friday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m. ET, while Saturday’s first pitch is set for 5 p.m. The regular season concludes on Sunday, May 21, at 2 p.m.  All three games in Austin will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network.
The Mountaineers are coming off a two-game weekend sweep of Gardner-Webb. After Friday night’s game was rained out, WVU won Saturday’s opener, 15-5. The Mountaineers followed it up with a 4-3 win on Sunday, on Senior Day.
  • WVU’s bats exploded for 15 runs on 15 hits in Saturday’s 15-5 victory. The Mountaineers scored at least one run in all but one inning and plated more than one run in four innings. All but one player in the West Virginia lineup had at least one hit, and three had three hits. Six Mountaineers drove in at least one run, with five of them plating multiple runs. Six of West Virginia’s 15 runs came with two outs.
  • The offensive charge was led by junior left fielder Kyle Davis, who was 3-for-3 with a career-high-tying five RBIs. He scored three runs and walked once. Sophomore Andrew Zitel, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning, launched his first career home run in the eighth, a two-run shot that hit off the left-field foul pole. Junior right-handed starter BJ Myers earned his fourth win of the season, allowing five runs on 11 hits in 5.1 innings. He struck out five and did not walk a batter.
  • In Sunday’s 4-3 win, senior first baseman Jackson Cramer led the team with two hits and senior right-handed reliever Jackson Sigman threw 1.1 scoreless innings to propel the Mountaineers. Gardner-Webb out-hit WVU 10-7, but West Virginia pitchers stranded 10 GWU runners on base to help hold the visitors to just three runs. Freshman right-handed starter Alek Manoah earned his first career win, striking out a career-best seven batters in 5.2 innings and allowing one run on six hits. Zarbnisky, who also was the designated hitter, picked up his team-leading fifth save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning.
  • Seniors Jackson Cramer, Jackson Sigman and student manager JT Heenan were honored before the game for their careers at WVU.
  • West Virginia is celebrating its 125th year of baseball. Founded in 1892, WVU owns an all-time record of 2,125-1,522-19. The Mountaineers are the second-oldest program in the Big 12.
  • West Virginia is ranked No. 20 in the NCAA RPI. The Big 12 has six teams in the top 25 and the league has the No. 1 RPI in the nation.
  • WVU is 30-20 on the season, 13-8 at home, 14-12 on the road and 3-0 at a neutral site.
  • WVU is tied for fourth place in the Big 12, with an 11-10 record, and won its first four weekend series in conference play. West Virginia is one game behind third-place Oklahoma and two games behind second-place Texas Tech.
  • The Mountaineers are 9-6 against top-25 teams, with all but six games coming on the road.
  • Kyle Davis has reached base in a team-high 20 consecutive games, a stretch that included a team-best 12-game hitting streak.
  • Sophomore designated hitter/right-handed pitcher Braden Zarbnisky has been named a semifinalist on the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year award watch list, presented by the College Baseball Foundation. Zarbnisky is hitting .342 in 34 games with 17 starts and has a team-leading five wins and five saves while posting a 2.64 ERA in 20 relief appearances.
  • Senior Jackson Cramer has been named one of 10 finalists for the Senior CLASS Award. The award recognizes senior student-athletes who have shown a commitment in four areas: community, classroom, character and competition. Fans can vote for Cramer at seniorCLASSaward.com.
  • Senior right-handed reliever Jackson Sigman has made 30 appearances this year, the most in a single season in program history.
For more information on the Mountaineers, follow WVU Baseball on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and visit WVUsports.com.