MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Brandon White had been mired in a 9-for-44 stretch during which he’d gone 10 consecutive games without scoring a run. West Virginia’s speedy centerfielder made amends Wednesday night in the Backyard Brawl.
White collected four hits, reached base five times and scored four runs as the Mountaineers overwhelmed Pitt 12-1 and climbed back to .500 in the process. Darius Hill’s career-best five RBIs, Jimmy Galusky’s four hits out of the No. 9 hole, and a dazzling five-inning start by Isaiah Kearns also fueled the blowout.
“We’ve got an opportunity to make some noise right now,” said coach Randy Mazey after West Virginia (15-15) won its fourth straight.
White was integral throughout, beginning with an RBI triple in the first inning.
“Any time you’re in a slump and you feel good barrel it always brings you up,” said the sophomore, whose average climbed from .227 to 257 in the span of a few hours.
White’s speed manufactured a run in the third inning — with an infield single and two stolen bases preceding Marque Inman’s groundout to make it 3-0.
After delivering an RBI single in the fourth, White also was aboard for Hill’s three-run double in the sixth that widened the gap to 9-1.
That was more backing than Kearns and three relievers needed to put down the Panthers (17-13).
“Commanding my fastball, throwing my slider in the dirt, and working my change-up on and off. Having those three pitches helped me settle in pretty good,” said Kearns (1-1) after throwing 89 pitches of two-hit shutout baseball. He fanned eight and pitched around three walks.
Liam Sabino’s solo homer in the sixth off Christian Young represented Pitt’s only bite before Tristan Hudson and Alek Manoah closed out the four-hitter with scoreless innings.
Galusky had two run-scoring singles and Inman doubled home White in the eighth for his team-leading 19th RBI.
“This was, without question, the best game we’ve played all year on all three sides of the ball,” Mazey said.
After Kevin Henriksen (0-2) gave up three runs in the first three innings for Pitt, the ensuing three relievers also yielded three runs each.
“Give all the credit to WVU tonight — they did it all,” said Panthers coach Joe Jordano. “They pitched well and did a tremendous job at the plate. They beat us, bottom line.”
West Virginia improved to 107-88 all-time in the series aand is scheduled to visit Pitt next Tuesday.
Up first comes a crucial Big 12 series against Oklahoma State starting Friday.