Coming into today, West Virginia had been searching for the big hit to finally capture a lead against a good team. After losing seven of their last nine games, the Mountaineers were scuffling and needed someone to step up. In the sixth inning, Paul McIntosh delivered a three-run home run to left field to help propel the Mountaineers to a 8-2 win in the Backyard Brawl against No 16. Pitt.
After coming off a sweep this past weekend against top ten opponent TCU, West Virginia (16-21) needed to rebound, and they did that in a big way on Wednesday evening — defeating rival Pitt (20-12) in the Backyard Brawl at Monongalia County Ballpark.
It started with freshman pitcher Carlson Reed who got the start for the Mountaineers. After posting an 8.64 ERA, and his longest outing coming on March 27th against Kansas where he pitched only three innings, the expectations weren’t for Reed (2-4) to dominate late into the game. Reed exceeded all those expectations however and had his best start of the season, pitching into the sixth inning, while allowing only one run, and striking out six.
“For the most part his fastball was in the strike zone tonight. You can’t pitch unless your fastball is in the zone and he definitely had that going,” head coach Randy Mazey said.
It was also a good night for the Mountaineer offense, who have struggled to score runs at opportune times this season. In the first inning, the Mountaineer offense was able to get on the board after Hudson Byorick tripled to score McIntosh. In the second inning, Alec Burns continued to find success at the plate. After being put into the lineup this past Saturday, Burns started his third straight game and doubled in his first at bat. Burns then scored on a Mikey Kluska groundout to put West Virginia ahead 2-0.
“This guy is must see baseball,” McIntosh said of Burns. “He hasn’t played a lot so it’s really impressive to see what he’s been doing out the plate.”
After getting an early lead, Reed was able to settle in, striking out two hitters and allowing only one hit in the next two innings of work.
“If Reed does what he’s supposed to do and not let the little things get to him while he’s out there — if he can recover from a bad call, or a bad play, or a bad pitch and move onto the next one, it’s not nearly as much about the opponent as it is about him,” Mazey said.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Mountaineer offense struck again to extend the lead to 4-0. With the bases loaded and two outs, Tyler Doanes was able to beat out an infield single and then Austin Davis walked to get the Mountaineers two more runs.
Then in the sixth inning after Doanes hit another infield single, and then Davis followed that up with a bunt single, it was McIntosh who came through in the biggest way possible for the Mountaineers. McIntosh crushed a 1-0 pitch that hit a 468 foot home run that hit the scoreboard in left field and put the Mountaineers ahead for good.
“I was just looking for something out over the plate,” McIntosh said. “[I was] just looking for something to drive over the plate. Nothing really crazy.”
In the eighth inning, the West Virginia bullpen seemed to be repeating history as of late as they had loaded the bases and already given up a run. Mazey called upon Madison Jeffery who was able to get a strikeout to strand the bases loaded and keep the Mountaineers’ lead intact. In the night inning it was Jeffery who closed the door on Pitt, striking out the side in the ninth inning and securing the victory for the Mountaineers.
The Mountaineers now lead the all-time series against Pitt 110-92, and will host Oklahoma this weekend with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
Photo by Dale Sparks, WVU