Mountaineers maul Panthers, 12-1


Thomas J. Yang

Liam Sabino (11), redshirt junior third baseman, drew a two-out walk during the Pitt vs. West Virginia baseball game at Penn State University. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Visual Editor)

Pitt’s bats fell silent on Wednesday as they were unable to score more than one run for the third straight game, losing 12-1 to the West Virginia Mountaineers in Morgantown.

West Virginia’s (15-15) offense found life against Pitt (17-13) in the 195th Backyard Brawl and handed the second straight nonconference to the Panthers.

Pitt head coach Joe Jordano was complimentary of West Virginia’s dominant win.

“Give all the credit to WVU tonight, they did it all,” Jordano said. “They pitched well and they did a tremendous job at the plate. They beat us, bottom line.”

Sophomore center fielder Brandon White lined an RBI triple down the right field line to put West Virginia on the board early in the top of the first inning. White would proceed to score on an RBI groundout from junior right fielder Darius Hill to give the Mountaineers a 2-0 lead after an inning of play.

Pitt got its first hit of the day with one out in the second inning on an infield single from first-year right fielder Ron Washington Jr. It didn’t lead to any runs, though, as West Virginia turned an unconventional double play. With Washington Jr. attempting to steal, junior designated hitter Caleb Parry popped up in foul territory to the first baseman, who then flipped it to the pitcher on first for the double play.

West Virginia sophomore pitcher Isaiah Kearns found himself in trouble with two on and one out as the Panther lineup turned over. After redshirt junior third baseman Liam Sabino drew a two-out walk to load the bases, Kearns escaped the jam, getting redshirt sophomore shortstop David Yanni to pop out, ending the inning.

The Mountaineers scored another run in the third inning as White stole second and third bases to set up an RBI groundout from redshirt sophomore first baseman Marques Inman.

Kearns continued to breeze through the Panthers lineup, striking out the side in the fourth inning to increase his strikeout total to seven while yielding just two walks and two hits to that point.

West Virginia expanded its lead as it exploded for another three runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by an RBI single for White as he continued his dominant performance against the Panthers.

Pitching with a 6-0 lead, Kearns remained in a rut, ending his day with a scoreless fifth inning and finishing with eight strikeouts, three walks, two hits and no runs allowed.

The Panthers tallied a run in the sixth inning thanks to a solo shot to left field off the bat of Sabino, who has increased his home-run season total to eight.

Up 6-1 in the sixth inning, the Mountaineers kept the pressure up, putting together a two-out rally as Hill capped off the inning with a three-run double to extend West Virginia’s lead 9-1.

West Virginia continued to pummel the Panthers’ pitching, tacking on three more runs in the eighth to give the Mountaineers a 12-1 lead, completely burying Pitt.

The Panthers failed to inch any closer as West Virginia came away with a 12-1 blowout win.

Pitt redshirt sophomore Kevin Henriksen took his second loss of the year, pitching three innings and allowing three runs on four hits and a walk to go with two strikeouts. For West Virginia, Kearns records his first win on the season.

The Panthers’ offense has gone cold since its five-game win streak ended April 7. The lineup is in dire need of another power hitter besides Sabino, who leads the team with eight home runs.

The Panthers will have another chance to get their offense going as they host Georgia Tech this weekend for a three-game set beginning this Friday. First pitch is at 6 p.m. at the Charles L. Cost Field.