MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Senior left-hander Zach Bargeron
picked up his first win since 2012 and the Mountaineer offense pounded out 10 hits as the WVU baseball team defeated Pitt, 6-3, in Tuesday’s home opener at Hawley Field.
“I thought we had some opportunities in the middle of the game to put it away, but we didn’t do it and we left some guys on base,” coach Randy Mazey says. “The top of our order is pretty good, we got eight hits out of the first four guys, so that’s normally how we roll. When those guys come up to the plate with men on base and the other team can’t pitch around them, that’s how we score runs.
In his third start of the season, Bargeron (1-0) would get his first decision, going five innings and allowing just one run off of four hits while striking out three.
“I don’t know how often the same guy gets to start two games in a row, but that’s what he did for us,” Mazey says. “I called him this morning and said, ‘Zach I know you just started, you didn’t throw many pitches, but do you want the ball today against the Panthers?’
“He’s an older, veteran kid that’s been around here a long time and has thrown some complete games on this field. I knew that the weather, the crowd that we did have and playing against Pitt wouldn’t effect him maybe like it would a different kid.”
Junior right-hander Michael Bennett
picked up his first career save, pitching the final four innings and giving up two runs on one hit with two strikeouts.
West Virginia improved to 13-8 overall and recorded at least 10 hits for the 14th
time this season, led by a three-hit performance from senior first baseman Ryan McBroom
. Junior shortstop Taylor Munden
and junior center fielder Bobby Boyd
added two hits and two runs apiece.
The Panthers would start things off in the top of the first as Boo Vazquez would hit a sacrifice fly to right field scoring leadoff man Stephen Vranka. Vranka led off the game for Pitt with a double, and then advanced to third by way of a sacrifice bunt.
It did not take long for WVU to answer though, as Munden would lead off the bottom of the first with a single through the left side. Munden would represent the first run of the contest for the Mountaineers, scoring from second base on an error by the Pitt second baseman.
After a leadoff walk by Munden and a single by Boyd, the Mountaineers would load the bases in the bottom of the third with two outs. Redshirt freshman Shaun Wood
snuck a single by the Pitt second baseman to score both Munden and Boyd, giving the Mountaineers their first lead of the game at 3-1.
Munden would again help West Virginia add to their lead in the bottom of the sixth inning. With runners on first and second, Munden hit a single to left center field scoring junior third basemen Justin Fox
to extend the advantage to 4-1.
The Panthers would get within one in the top of the eighth inning with a two-run home run over the left field fence by Casey Roche, the only hit allowed by Bennett. The round tripper was the third of the season for Roche.
The Mountaineers got important insurance runs in the bottom of the eighth with back-to-back two-out singles off the bat of Boyd and junior second baseman Billy Fleming
. Each would score a run increasing WVU's lead to 6-3.
Pitt’s starting pitcher, right-hander TJ Zeuch (1-2), would throw four innings, allowing two earned runs off of three hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
The Mountaineers will open the Big 12 season with a series against Baylor at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston this weekend. Friday’s game is set for 2 p.m., Saturday’s game will begin at 4 p.m. and Sunday’s finale will begin at 1:30 p.m. Sunday’s game will be televised on Fox Sports 1. For tickets this weekend, call the West Virginia Power Ticket Office at 304-344-BATS.