MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Isaiah Kearns and Jackson Sigman combined to pitch a three-hit shutout on Tuesday in West Virginia’s 2-0 win over Pitt during the 194th edition of the Backyard Brawl at Monongalia Country Ballpark.
Kearns tossed 5.2 scoreless frames for the Mountaineers (31-20). He gave up three hits and struck out seven.
Sigman (4-4) relieved the freshman right-hander in the sixth inning and earned the win. The senior pitched 3.1 perfect innings of relief.
“He’s so valuable for us,” WVU head coach Randy Mazey said of Sigman. “He broke another record tonight, he broke his own record, set his last time he pitched, for single-season appearances. The next time he pitches he’s going to break another record, so that guy has a chance to pitch five or six more times this season, so I’m super proud of the adjustment he made in the middle of the season.
“Isaiah Kearns, right when we needed a great start out of freshman, he came out here, and on a big stage in front of a great crowd, they were packed in everywhere. That’s a big moment for a freshman from Pennsylvania that was recruited by both schools. I’m super proud of him as well.”
After Frank Maldonado doubled off Kearns in the sixth, the Mountaineers’ skipper called upon Sigman to record the final out.
The Panthers (22-28) held WVU to just seven hits but couldn’t solve the Mountaineers’ pitching.
Kyle Davis, Darius Hill and Jackson Cramer each had two hits for WVU.
“I keep talking about the middle of the lineup that needs to produce,” Mazey said. “Cramer, Hill and Kyle Davis each have two hits in the game for us. That game came together exactly like we needed it to.”
The Mountaineers got the scoring started in the bottom of the sixth. Braden Zarbnisky began the inning with a walk. Davis tripled into the left center gap, scoring Zarbnisky. Then Hill’s base hit to right field gave WVU a 2-0 lead.
In the fourth, the Mountaineers threatened to score but were unsuccessful. Back-to-back singles from Hill and Cramer put runners at the corners with one out but Jimmy Galusky lined out and Chase Illig went down swinging to end the frame.
It was the first since March 25, 2014, a 6-3 WVU win, that a home team emerged victorious in the Backyard Brawl. The visiting teams won the last six showdowns.
The Mountaineers close out the regular season on the road with a three game series against Texas.