Fresh off a weekend sweep of Cincinnati, the #17 baseball team travelled down I-79 to play the second leg of the season's series. The Panthers lost to WVU earlier in the season at Charles L. Cost Field 8-7. In front of a record crowd at Hawley Field, Pitt held on against the Mountaineers to win 7-6. Always nice to send a bunch of West Virginia fans home crushed.
More importantly though, each win helps build Pitt's NCAA resume as they get closer and closer to the NCAA Tournament. And outside of the season ending series at Louisville, Pitt doesn't have many more chances to help their case. But West Virginia, who just swept Kansas over the weekend and are 3rd in the Big 12, at least had an RPI in the 80s, which is better than many of Pitt's remaining opponents.
Scoreless through 3 innings, Pitt got things started with singles from Eric Hess and Boo Vazquez. After a wild pitch advanced both runners a base, Steven Shelinsky, Jr. was walked to load the bases for Elvin Soto. Soto hit an RBI single to bring in Hess. Sam Parente then bunted towards 1st, bringing in Vazquez while Parente safely reached 1st. With the bases loaded for Bennette Hill, he hit a grand slam over the right wall to give Pitt a 6-0 lead. WVU brought in 2 runs in the 4th to end the inning with a 6-2 Pitt lead.
But West Virginia kept things close throughout. They scored once in the fifth to close the gap to 6-3. Stephen Vranka got on base in the 7th with a double and scored following a single from Casey Roche to bring the lead back up to 4. In the bottom of the 8th, WVU scored 3 runs to keep things interesting going into the 9th inning. The Mountaineers got 3 quick outs and got the tying run on base. But Jonathan Danielczyk managed to get 3 straight WVU batters to ground out to end the game.
Roche, normally found in the outfield, started on the mound and picked up the win, pitching 5 2/3 innings, giving up 3 earned runs and striking out 2. Danielczyk got the save. Pitt is now 33-10 heading into tomorrow's home game against Akron. Pitt already beat the Zips earlier in the season in Akron.