MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — More than just a Backyard Brawl, Tuesday’s WVU-Pitt baseball game offers the Mountaineers a chance to improve their NCAA resume.
That’s right — a team that began the season with modest aspirations of qualifying for the Big 12 tournament now has an outside shot of making the NCAA field of 64.
Pitt (31-10) comes to Hawley Field ranked No. 17 in the Collegiate Baseball poll and situated at No. 2 in the Big East standings. More importantly, the Panthers were 59th in the last week’s RPI rankings by the NCAA.
West Virginia (27-18) stood 105th last week, but after sweeping Kansas, it figures to climb when the NCAA updates its RPI standings Tuesday. Currently tied for third in the Big 12, WVU has won five consecutive games and is at least on the selection committee’s radar entering the final three weeks of the regular season.
A midweek win over Pitt can bolster West Virginia’s computer numbers and provide a Senior Night sendoff for pitcher Dan Dierdorff, catcher Alan Filauro and outfielders Chris Rasky and Brady Wilson.
West Virginia, which won 8-7 at Pitt on March 12, goes for the season sweep tonight at 6 p.m.
The Mountaineers plan to give freshman right-hander Brock Dykxhoorn (2-0, 0.86 ERA) his fifth start of the season, while Pitt will counter with Casey Roche, a junior who is better known for his bat. Roche has made only two mound appearances, allowing three runs in seven combined innings, but he leads the squad with 53 RBIs and stands second on the team in hitting (.358), home runs (nine) and stolen bases (10).
The game will be video streamed on WVUsports.com, with the radio broadcast available on affiliates of the Mountaineer Sports Network, including Morgantown’s WAJR 1440 AM as the flagship station.
As the final game of the season at Hawley Field, WVU is unveiling a “Dollar Night” promotion — with tickets, hot dogs, popcorn and soft drinks available for $1.