MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Bennette Hill blasted a grand slam as part of Pitt’s six-run fourth-inning outburst and the Panthers edged West Virginia 7-6 despite a record Hawley Field crowd of 2,535 on Tuesday night.
The record crowd more than doubled the previous ballpark record of 1,174 that was set against Maryland in 2007.
“It was unbelievable. I can’t even put into words how good I felt about the atmosphere tonight,” WVU coach Randy Mazey said. “I was hitting infield/outfield to the team before the game and our guys were hopping around with a lot of energy. To look on the hill and see all the fans, I thought, OK this is Big 12 baseball right here.”
Despite outhitting Pitt 12-10, West Virginia was unable to string hits together in the ninth inning when right fielder Brady Wilson — one of four players honored on “Senior Night” — led off with a single, but was stranded.
The Mountaineers (27-19), who saw a five-game winning streak snapped, split the season series against the Panthers (33-11), who came in ranked No. 17 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.
WVU freshman right-hander Brock Dykxhoorn (2-1) took his first loss of the season. The game was scoreless until the fourth, when Pitt detonated for six runs, highlighted by Hill’s homer. Dykxhoorn allowed five hits, with three strikeouts and one walk in four innings of work.
The Mountaineers countered with three consecutive singles by Ryan McBroom, Matt Frazer and Billy Fleming to start the bottom of the fourth. Senior catcher Alan Filauro grounded into a double play, driving in Frazer for the second run.
The lead was trimmed to to 6-3 in the fifth as Ryan Tuntland hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Bobby Boyd.
Down 7-3 in the eighth, the Mountaineers put together a three-run frame to draw to within 7-6. After Fleming’s RBI, Boyd tripled home Jacob Rice and Filauro.
Ryan Tezak, Pascal Paul and Corey Holmes, as well as sophomore right-hander Taylor Munden pitched the final five innings.
Pitt notched its final run in the top of the seventh inning, an RBI single off the bat of starting pitcher Casey Roche.
Roche (1-0) earned the win, tossing 5 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on eight hits. Jonathan Danielczyk picked up his first save of the season, allowing one hit in the ninth.
The Mountaineers will travel to Appalachian Power Park this weekend, taking on Big 12 opponent Oklahoma. Game 1 begins at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, followed by Game 2 at 4 p.m. on Saturday and the first pitch for Game 3 is set for 1 p.m. on Sunday.
The games will be video streamed on WVUsports.com, while the radio broadcast will be on select affiliates of the Mountaineer Sports Network, with Morgantown affiliate WAJR 1440 AM serving as the flagship station.