Despite wiping away a six-run deficit, West Virginia fell to Pitt 9-6 in the first of three scheduled Backyard Brawl clashes in 2022 on Wednesday.
One day after triumphing over in-state rival Marshall, the Mountaineers got off to a disastrous first inning as the Panthers nearly hit through righty Ben Abernathy, who got his first start of the season. Pitt ran Abernathy off the mound before he could finish the inning, but not before they put six runs on the scoreboard.
By the bottom of the fourth, though, that six-run lead was wiped away as the Mountaineer offense started to roll. Victor Scott II finally tied it up with a 3-RBI home run to right field in the bottom of the fourth, capping off the initial comeback.
Chris Sleeper (1-4) took the mound to replace Abernathy in the fourth and took the loss, despite tossing nearly three full innings of quality baseball. He slipped in the fourth, walking Jeffrey Wehler before allowing him reach second on a pick-off error. Noah Short replaced Sleeper after he walked the next batter, but Short then gave up the go-ahead RBI single to Sky Duff.
WVU nearly tied the game again in the fifth when Tevin Tucker knocked in what appeared to be an RBI single, sending Braden Barry home from second base. The run was annulled, however, after a replay review revealed that Barry had missed third base.
Tatem Levins sealed the victory for Pitt in the sixth when he hit a 2-RBI home run, adding insurance for the Panthers.
Brady Devereux (2-0) earned the win for Pitt out of the bullpen, tossing 1.2 scoreless innings with a pair of hits. He was one of six arms to come out of the bullpen for Pitt, while West Virginia tapped on seven.
Bryce Hulett logged a 2-for-4 day with a pair of RBIs, and Jack Anderson also added a pair of hits with a run batted in. Brady Franks added a 3-RBI homer in the first inning, his only hit of the day.
Scott’s homer was his only hit of the day for WVU, but he reached base three more times via walks. Austin Davis and JJ Wetherholt each added a pair of hits to the offensive effort.
Pitt’s win comes on short notice, after the contest was announced Tuesday afternoon. It is the first of three meetings between the historical rivals.
The Panthers win just their second game against the Mountaineers since 2016 with the victory, while WVU remains ahead in the all-time series, 86-74 since 1939.
While Pitt improves to 13-10 on the season with eight ACC games already under its belt, WVU falls to 14-9. Its conference slate opens with a three-game road trip to TCU, beginning Friday at 7 p.m. ET.