Baseball: No. 24 Pitt Strikes Early, Tops WVU
By Steve Stone for MSNsportsNET.com
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The West Virginia University baseball team fell behind early once again, only to fall short of another comeback bid as it lost to No. 24 Pitt, 6-3, on Saturday afternoon at Hawley Field.
The Mountaineers (17-22, 3-11) allowed three runs in the first inning, all with two outs. After John Schultz grounded into a double play, Joe Leonard singled to left field and David Chester drew a four-pitch walk. On a 2-2 offering from WVU starter Jarryd Summers (1-7), designated hitter Kevan Smith launched a three-run home run to right field.
Pitt padded its lead with an unearned run in the second inning, then created a 5-0 advantage in the third inning when Chester homered to left field on a 1-0 pitch. Summers, who gave up five earned runs on nine hits in 6.1 innings pitched, managed to retire seven straight batters through the third, fourth and fifth frames, but gave up a solo home run to catcher Cory Brownsten in the sixth as the Panthers (29-10, 11-3) reached their biggest lead at 6-0.
WVU, which is batting .300 and averages 6.4 runs per game, is scoring 2.6 runs per game in Summers’ 10 starts this year.
Pitt starter Matt Iannazzo (7-1) pitched well through the first eight innings, allowing no runs. The Mountaineers rallied off the left-hander as well as reliever Joe Leonard in the ninth, scoring three runs off four hits. Colin Durborow led off the frame with a single to centerfield, followed by a single from Brady Wilson up the middle. Jedd Gyorko then walked on five pitches to load the bases, and Dom Hayes singled through the right side to give WVU its first run.
With no outs, Leonard rotated from third base to pitcher in a save situation. Grant Buckner reached base on an RBI fielder’s choice, as Pitt third baseman Ronald Sucre fielded the ball and made an errant throw to second base that forced Travis Whitmore to jump for the catch without touching the base. Junior Justin McDavid then extended his hitting streak to 15 games as he beat out an infield single to shortstop Evan Oswald, making it 6-3.
Iannazzo delivered the win after allowing three runs on 10 hits with four strikeouts in eight innings pitched.
In a bases-loaded situation with no outs, pinch-hitter Jeremy Gum struck out, and Matt Malloy swung on the first pitch and popped up to the second baseman in shallow right field. Pinch hitter Chris Rasky then stepped to the plate and struck out swinging on a full-count pitch, giving Leonard his sixth save of the season.
Hayes finished 2-for-5 with the team’s lone extra-base hit, a double to the left-center gap in the first inning. Malloy also went 2-for-5 and Durborow added two hits as well.
The Mountaineers finished with 11 base hits compared to 10 by Pitt. WVU is now 6-16 when its opponent scores first and 7-11 when the opposition scores in the first inning.
Sophomore left-hander Chase Pickering showed plenty of command in relief, holding the Panthers to no runs on one hit with two walks in 2.2 innings pitched.
WVU returns for the final contest of the three-game set on Sunday, April 25, at noon at Hawley Field. The WVU coaching staff and players will conduct a youth baseball camp following Sunday’s contest. Brochures and other information regarding the event can be found on MSNsportsNET.com.