Two four-run innings led the WVU baseball team to an 8-4 victory over Pitt on Friday evening in front of 1,061 fans at Hawley Field. The attendance number ranks as the third highest in Hawley Field history.
"I'm really proud of the guys," coach Greg Van Zant says. "They came out in front of a big crowd tonight, and I really appreciate all of the fans coming out. It was a great crowd and that really helped us put some pressure on Pittsburgh. It was a great atmosphere out here tonight."
Sophomore right-hander Corey Walter (4-3) went into the eighth inning for the second-consecutive outing, lasting 7.1 innings, while allowing two earned runs on 10 hits. Walter struck out three and walked two.
"He did a great job last weekend and a great job tonight," Van Zant says. "He worked out of some jams early in the game. A couple of times they had some runners on base early in the inning and he was able to work his way out of it."
Freshman second baseman Billy Fleming led the Mountaineer offense with three hits, two runs and an RBI. Sophomore first baseman Ryan McBroom had two hits, including his sixth home run of the season. The Mountaineers improved to 16-23 overall and 4-9 in the BIG EAST while the Panthers dropped to 18-19 and 3-10.
WVU finished with eight runs on 10 hits with two errors, and Pitt scored four runs on 11 hits with one error.
Pitt struck first with an unearned run in the second inning as WVU junior shortstop Stu Jeck bobbled a ball attempting to get the third out.
The WVU offense responded to score four runs on three hits in the third inning to take a 4-1 lead. McBroom blasted a two-run shot to left field to start the WVU scoring and put the Mountaineers up 2-1. Junior left fielder Chris Rasky then doubled to left center field and was driven in by a single from Fleming. Fleming brought the score to 4-2 when he alertly scored on a wild pitch from second base.
The Panthers scored one in the fourth and eighth innings, but WVU produced another four-run inning in the eighth to put the game out of reach. Fleming started a two-out rally with a single to left field, followed by a walk to sophomore third baseman Nate Antone. Junior catcher Alan Filauro was then hit by a pitch to load the bases for Jeck. Jeck came through with a two-out two-run single to left field, followed by another two-run single by junior right fielder Brady Wilson to extend the WVU lead to 8-3.
Sophomore right-hander Josh Harlow finished the game in relief of Walter, allowing one run on one hit in 1.2 innings pitched. Harlow struck out two and walked two.
Walter's counterpart, Matt Wotherspoon (3-2), took the loss after giving up five earned runs off 10 hits in eight innings pitched. Wotherspoon struck out five while walking two.
"This is a series that both teams need to win badly," Van Zant says. "We were fortunate to get the first one, now we need to move on to the second one."
Game two on Saturday is set for 2 p.m. and will be audio streamed through MSNsportsNET.com and WAJR-1440 AM in Morgantown. Left-hander Marshall Thompson will get the start for the Mountaineers, while lefty Matt Iannazzo takes the mound for Pitt.