MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU freshman pitcher Aidan Major is a Pennsylvania native. He hails from Mill Hall, which is less than an hour from State College and about three hours from Pittsburgh.
Major grew up a Penn State fan. Because of the Nittany Lions being the hometown team and despite his proximity to the Steel City, he didn’t really know much about Pitt. However, when he was considering his collegiate options, the Panthers did show interest.
“I never got an offer from them because I committed here pretty early, but from about age 15 up to when I committed, they were in my top two schools. They were one of the first three or four Division I programs to get ahold of me,” Major said. “So that was cool to have them get ahold of me, but also to commit here and get the chance to pitch against them, it was that much sweeter.”
When you look at his resume, you’ll notice a theme: he tosses his best stuff against teams from his home state. He owns two wins in three starts vs. PSU and Pitt.
That extra motivation powered Major to his best outing yet as a Mountaineer on Tuesday. In the final Backyard Brawl of the season, the righty tossed six no-hit innings. He allowed a pair of walks and fanned a career-high eight batters.
“I had a lot of confidence. The guys behind me were making great plays. AD [Austin Davis] had two good plays out in right field,” Major said. “Just doing what Coach Mazey preaches every day. Command your fastball, get ahead on the counts and let your stuff work for ya. That was the key tonight. I got ahead and let my defense work, so it was a fun night.”
With the 6-0 advantage and Major’s pitch count creeping towards 90 (his previous season-high was 60), head coach Randy Mazey decided it was time for the freshman to call it a night after six in the books.
“I’ve got a lot of tough decisions to make during the game. That wasn’t one of them. I was going to get him out after the fifth but, he was throwing good. I didn’t want to give him four at-bats off of someone else, wanted to make sure we held them to zeros through six,” Mazey said. “The bullpen was a little shorter today and his pitch count was pretty low. He didn’t have many walks through five innings.”
The skipper added Major’s no-hitter wasn’t even a discussion at that moment.
“We didn’t even talk about it. When he came out I said good job that’s unbelievable. He knows. He hasn’t thrown more than 50-60 pitches all year. I’m not going to let him go out there and throw 120 pitches, because if he’s pitching that good, we may need him down the stretch,” Mazey said. “I want to make sure to take care of the kid.”
Now for Major, he tried not to think about what he was accomplishing in the moment, but he did catch a glimpse of that goose egg up there on the scoreboard a time or two.
“It kind of happens through the game,” he said. “Anytime you look at the scoreboard, even if you don’t want to, you get that glance of the 0 in the hit column. Being a guy that is still so young, for me to be able to not really think about it and do that, I really impressed myself and with that. Impressed the coaching staff as well, so very happy about that.”
Major has appeared in nine games this season with three starts. His first nod was April 20 vs. Pitt at PNC Park. In three innings, he didn’t allow a hit, walked four and struck out five. That makes nine combined hitless frames against the Panthers. He earned the win in both contests. His first win came over the Nittany Lions in early April.
“He’s a Pennsylvania kid. He takes a lot of pride in that,” Mazey said. “Like I told you the last time he pitched, he continues to get a little better every time out. If he continues to get better, he’s going to have a really good future here.”
The freshman has only appeared in WVU’s midweek games. He has yet to toss a pitch against a Big 12 Conference opponent. The Mountaineers only have two conference series remaining in the regular season. So, what does that immediate future look like for Major?
“That’s something we have to talk about. We’ve been looking for some starting pitching and if he’s going to go out and do that against Pitt who is a good offensive team, now. It’s an older veteran, lineup that’s been around for quite some time and they score a lot of runs against ACC teams so that was a good team he went out and threw six no-hit innings today,” Mazey said. “That’s encouraging. Who knows what’s going to happen. We just have to see how the weekend goes and play it from there.”
WVU makes its final road trip of the season this weekend for a three-game set at Oklahoma. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday.