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Pitt

Hot Start Helps Lead Pitt Over WVU in Baseball Backyard Brawl, 9-6

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For the third consecutive game, Pitt baseball (13-10, 3-5 ACC) used a hot start and clutch two-out hitting to beat a talented baseball team. West Virginia (14-9, 0-0 BIG12) came into this game off a four-game winning streak and have been in-and-out of various rankings this season, but weren’t ranked in this game.

This past weekend, Pitt won two games against No. 20 Clemson (17-7, 1-4 ACC) in what became a series sweep after Saturday’s game was cancelled due to the weather. In those games, which Pitt won by scores of 8-0 and 10-7, half of their 18 runs were scored in the first three innings. In this game against West Virginia, six of their nine runs were scored in the first.

Pitt got things started after getting out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the first. After loading the bases with only one out, McGwire Holbrook grounded into a double-play. In the bottom of the inning, Jeffrey Wehler singled up the middle and stole second base to get Pitt’s first base runner.

”It’s something we talk about, not waiting to get punched in the mouth,” said Pitt manager Mike Bell on the team’s recent hot starts to ballgames. “And I think playing here at home, if we can put up a zero in the first inning, our guys are ready to go. It’s a veteran lineup, they’re seeing the ball really well right now and they’re complimenting each other.”

Tatem Levins was then hit by a pitch while Sky Duff was walked, loading the bases up for Pitt. A strikeout put two outs on the board, but that’s when the six-run rally happened.

Bryce Hullet singled to center scoring Wehler and Levins. Jack Anderson then singled scoring Levins. With Anderson and Hullet on base, Brock Franks hit a three-run moonshot to right to give Pitt a commanding 6-0 lead.

“I was just looking for something hard to hit,” said Franks. “To get something going. Found the right pitch and just tried to put the barrel on the ball.”

The hot start by Pitt was enough for the team to withstand a quick comeback by West Virginia who scored two in the third and four in the fourth to tie the game at 6-6.

That was the last time the game was tied though as Pitt would get the deciding run in the bottom half of the fourth inning.

With two outs and no runners on, Wehler drew a walk and advanced to second after a failed pick-off attempt became a throwing error. With two outs Duff singled home Wehler to right to put Pitt ahead 7-6.

“The guys in front of me did their job,” said Duff. “Got us into position to score some runs. I was just looking to kind of shift that momentum back to us.”

The score was almost tied up in the top of the fifth inning when Tevin Tucker singled home Braden Barry on a hit-and-run play. But, the Pitt bench noticed that Barry had missed third base and asked for an official review. After review, the umpires ruled that Barry was out.

“I thought it was a great job by our dugout,” said Bell. “Staying in the game and as they saw the play, it was an awkward situation to see him miss it. And our replay system here is phenomenal and there’s no doubt, he missed it.”

Pitt would get two more runs in the seventh inning when Levins hit a two-run home run to provide the final score of 9-6.

It was a big win for Pitt, who are now on a three-game winning streak against two quality opponents. After defeating No. 20 Clemson twice this past weekend, they ended their rival West Virginia’s four-game winning streak.

”I think our ball-club feels really good,” said Bell. “I think that’s the neat thing about the season. You know you play 56 in a regular season for a reason, you play 162 in the big leagues for a reason. It’s not where you start, but how you can learn and grow as a team.”

Brady Devereux picked up the win and Baron Stuart got the save. Chris Sleeper picked up the loss for West Virginia.

Pitt will look to continue getting off to hot starts this weekend when they return to ACC play to face another quality opponent in No. 5 Louisville (20-5, 6-0 ACC) at home.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Krackerjack Kid
Krackerjack Kid
8 months ago

Good game with some heads-up base running.

But I gotta ask: Who’s Bobby Franks?

Dukes

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