Backyard Brawl Returns to Morgantown

Gold and Blue Nation

The West Virginia University baseball team steps away from Big 12 Conference action for a midweek battle against No. 16 Pitt, presented by Coca-Cola, on Wednesday, May 5. First pitch at Monongalia County Ballpark in Morgantown is set for 6:30 p.m. ET.

Tickets to Wednesday’s Backyard Brawl are sold out. A limited number of WVU student tickets will be available on game day in pairs of two. Student tickets can be picked up at Gate A or C of Monongalia County Ballpark. Students are admitted free with a valid student I.D.

Fans are reminded to check the WVU baseball Twitter page for updates on limited player/guest-returned tickets prior to every home game. If those are made available to the general public, they will be released for purchase starting three hours before first pitch and can be found on WVUGAME.com. Any available tickets can be purchased on a first-come, first-serve basis and are priced at $7.

Fans can listen to the game 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, Wednesday’s game will broadcast live on Big 12 Now on ESPN+. For links to live stats, audio and streams, visit WVUsports.com.

Freshman right-handed pitcher Carlson Reed (1-4, 8.64 ERA) gets the ball for the Mountaineers against Pitt senior right-hander Stephen Hansen (1-2, 6.16 ERA). The start marks the third for Reed this season. 

WVU (15-21) owns a 109-92 advantage over Pitt (20-11) in the all-time series, including 63-39 in Morgantown. Of note, the Mountaineers are 10-4 in the Backyard Brawl in the Randy Mazey era.

West Virginia has played Pitt more than any other opponent in program history. The two teams already met once this season, a 5-1, Panther win on April 6, in Pittsburgh. The loss snapped WVU’s six-game win streak over its rival.

Last time out, WVU dropped three games to No. 5 TCU, from April 30-May 2, in Morgantown. The Mountaineers fell to the Horned Frogs, 8-2, 5-3 and 9-1.

WVU is in the middle of an 11-game homestand, which runs from April 30-May 16. Additionally, the squad has won 17 consecutive midweek, home games, dating back to a 9-6 win over Niagara on April 3, 2017.

Following his eight-hit effort in the TCU series, junior outfielder Austin Davis paces the club with a .296 average at the plate this spring. In the power department, sophomore catcher/infielder Matt McCormick is tied with fifth-year senior infielder Kevin Brophy for the team lead in home runs, with six, while freshman infielder Mikey Kluska’s 23 RBI are tops in the group.

The WVU pitching staff enters the week ranked No. 16 nationally in strikeouts per nine innings. The Mountaineers combined to fan TCU 34 times in last weekend’s three-game set. 

Pitt is led by third-year coach Mike Bell. The Panthers enter with a 20-11 mark this season and are ranked as high as No. 16 in this week’s Baseball America Top 25 poll.

Wednesday marks the Panthers’ first game since April 18. The squad’s last seven games were canceled due to COVID-19 protocols.

Pitt, which hasn’t won in Morgantown since 2016, is led by senior outfielder Nico Popa, who is hitting .351 with 30 runs, eight homers and 24 RBI. Redshirt senior David Yanni has slugged a team-best nine home runs, while sophomore outfielder Kyle Hess’ 29 RBI are good for the team lead.

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