WVU, Pitt to renew rivalry on diamond Tuesday

Gold and Blue Nation

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team continues its seven-game road trip by traveling to No. 24 Pitt for the latest edition of the Backyard Brawl on Tuesday, April 6. First pitch at Charles L. Cost Field is set for 3 p.m. ET.

Fans can listen to all the action on the Mountaineer Sports Network from Learfield IMG College on 100.9 WZST-FM, as well as various affiliates throughout the state, the TuneIn Radio App and WVUsports.com. Additionally, Tuesday’s contest will be broadcast live on ACC Network Extra. For links to live stats, audio and streams, visit WVUsports.com.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Carlson Reed (1-2, 9.35 ERA) takes the ball for the Mountaineers, while Pitt counters with senior right-hander Chris Gomez (1-0, 2.45 ERA).

WVU (11-11, 3-3 Big 12) and Pitt (13-10, 9-9 ACC) are set to meet for the 201st time on Tuesday. The Mountaineers are 109-91 all-time against the Panthers, while Pitt holds a 50-43 edge in games played in Pittsburgh.

Additionally, West Virginia is 10-3 against Pitt in the Randy Mazey era (2013-present).

Pitt is WVU’s most played opponent in program history. The squad enters the midweek matchup on a six-game win streak against its rival, dating back to 2016. In the two schools’ most recent meeting, West Virginia topped Pitt, 9-4, on May 14, 2019, at PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Last time out, WVU dropped two-of-three games at No. 16 Oklahoma State from April 1-3, in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Mountaineers took the series opener, 4-3, before falling in the final two games of the weekend, 7-2 and 21-11.

Senior left-handed pitcher Jackson Wolf earned the win on the mound in the opener, his third of the year. The Gahanna, Ohio, native allowed three runs on five hits while matching his career high in strikeouts (8) in 6.1 innings of work. Sophomore right-hander Jacob Watters nailed down the save after pitching 2.1 innings of shutout ball.

Offensively, fifth-year senior first baseman/outfielder Hudson Byorick finished 6-for-12 at the plate for the week, tallying a home run, three doubles and four RBI. Additionally, freshman infielder Mikey Kluska homered twice in the OSU series and drove in five in the three-game set.

Kluska continues to lead the Mountaineers offensively, recording a team-high 29 hits and 17 RBI, while Byorick is hitting .345 at the plate. Fifth-year senior infielder Kevin Brophy has hit a team-leading five home runs, one of four WVU players to leave the yard at least three times in 2021. On the base paths, junior outfielder Austin Davis and sophomore outfielder Victor Scott co-lead the club with nine stolen bases.

On the mound, the West Virginia pitching staff enters the week ranked No. 17 nationally in strikeouts per nine innings (10.9).

Pitt is led by third-year coach Mike Bell, who is 44-50 during his time with the Panthers. Pitt is 13-10 on the year, including 9-9 in ACC play. Last time out, the Panthers dropped two-of-three games to No. 12 Notre Dame, from April 3-5, in Pittsburgh.

In all, 12 of the club’s first 23 games have been against ranked opponents.

Pitt was featured in multiple polls this week, checking in at No. 24 in the D1Baseball.com Top 25, which was released on Monday. Tuesday’s game marks WVU’s fourth in a row against a ranked opponent.

The Panthers are led offensively by senior outfielder Nico Popa’s six home runs and redshirt senior infielder David Yanni’s 22 RBI. Pitt also entered the week as one of the top defensive teams in the country, holding a team fielding percentage of .979, good for No. 16 nationally.

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