The West Virginia Mountaineers (15-15) crushed the Pittsburgh Panthers (17-13) 12-1 at Monongalia County Ball Park Wednesday night. It was their fourth win in a row, brining the Mountaineers back to .500.
West Virginia starting pitcher Isaiah Kearns (0-1) started the game with back to back strikeouts and the third batter he faced he got him to ground out to second base.
Pitt starting pitcher Kevin Henriksen (0-1) couldn’t keep the Mountaineers off the board in the bottom of the first inning as Braden Zarbnisky drew a walk to start things off. On a hit and run, Braden White striped the ball down the right field line for a triple, scoring Zarbnisky.
Kearns started the third inning with a strikeout before giving up a hit to Nick Banman, then walking Cole Maclaren. He would get Alex Amos to fly out to centerfield and then walk Liam Sabino with two outs.
The bases were loaded, and West Virginia Pitching Coach Dave Serrano came out to settle the right hander down. Kearns ended the inning getting David Yanni to pop up back to him, keeping the Panthers scoreless through three.
West Virginia Centerfielder Brandon White started the third inning with a tough groundball to the shortstop and reaching first base. White got himself into scoring position stealing second base and then third before Marques Inman grounded out to third base bringing in White adding to the Mountaineer lead.
Pitt’s Chris Gomez took over the mound for Henriksen to start the fourth inning and it did not phase the Mountaineers.
Ivan Gonzalez started the inning off with a single to right field and Chase Illig doubled to left field advancing Gonzalez to third.
Jimmy Galusky singled to right bringing in Gonzalez and moving Illig to third. Zarbniksy laid down a sacrificd bunt to score Illig and moving Galusky to second base.
With Brandon White at the plate, Galusky took third base on a wild pitch. White hit a ground ball to third and beat the throw to first scoring Galusky.
Isaiah Kearns night ended after the fifth inning with a career high eight strikeouts. He only gave up two hits and walked three batters.
Christian Young started the sixth inning for the Mountaineers and on the first pitch gave up a homerun over the left field fence to Liam Sabino. That would be Pitt’s only run of the game.
Young settled down and sat down the next six batters. All three outs in the seventh inning were strikeouts.
West Virginia put up another three runs in the sixth inning and did all the damage with two outs. After Kearns and Illig struck out, the Mountaineers loaded the bases and Darius Hill cleared them with a double with a line drive to right center.
It was 9-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning and West Virginia added another three runs to bury the Panthers.
Tyler Doanes came in to pinch hit for Isaiah Kearns to start the inning and he hit a shot to left center for a triple. Galusky singled to bring home Doanes. Galusky advanced to second on a wild pitch, then got to third on a single on the right side of the field by White.
Hill flied out to right field to bring home Galusky and Marques Inman doubled to left center bringing White around the bases.
The Mountaineers were aggressive at the plate and used their speed on the base pads. “Brandon White single handedly scored a run on his own with his speed.” Said head coach Randy Mazey. “Speed changes the game and it changes the way the other team pitches and the way they play defense. You just try so hard to not make outs on the bases.”
It was a season best 12 runs for the Mountaineers. “This was without question the best game we’ve played all year on all three sides of the ball. We pitched really well, we played great defense and we hit really well. That’s super encouraging.” Said Mazey.
West Virginia has a three-game series at home this weekend starting Friday at 6:30 pm Est against one of the hottest teams in the country and Big XII rival Oklahoma State.