Attendance record set, as No. 22 WVU takes down rival Pitt 6-3

GRANVILLE — West Virginia set an attendance record Tuesday night, as 4,614 fans jammed inside Kendrick Family Ballpark to watch the No. 22 Mountaineers take down rival Pitt 6-3.

“The crowd was unbelievable,” said WVU head coach Randy Mazey, who will retire at the end of the season. “It was such a cool atmosphere. When they were playing that one song (Sweet Caroline), I looked back at my wife, and she was crying like a baby. It hits you then that this was my last Backyard Brawl in Morgantown.”

BOX SCORE

It broke the record of 4,387 set last May against Oklahoma and it’s the fifth time a crowd of more than 4,000 has filled the stadium.

WVU students had filled their section behind the WVU dugout well before the first pitch, as traffic backed up on University Town Centre Drive outside the stadium.

By the time the game started, general admission had filled the grassy berm along the left field line, as well as covering every inch along the fence that lines the concourse in right field.

“When I first got here, a lot of what you say about building this type of atmosphere was coach-speak,” Mazey said. “To see it come to fruition is another thing.

“I wish I could have gone aisle to aisle and thanked every fan for all of the support they’ve given to Mountaineers baseball.”

What all the fans saw was WVU (23-13) making its first national ranking of the season look pretty solid.

D1 Baseball, the poll recognized by the NCAA, put WVU in at No. 22 on Monday, following the Mountaineers’ three-game sweep of UCF.

WVU was also No. 24 in the USA Today Top 25 and No. 18 in Baseball America.

The Mountaineers’ defense had one of its better performances, highlighted by the diving catch Michael Perazza made in foul territory to end the second inning.

Tyler Switalski and Hayden Cooper combined to shut down the Panthers (14-19), who haven’t won in Morgantown since 2016, with Cooper earning his first win of the season after going four innings and allowing three runs and seven hits. All three runs came in the eighth inning, with Jayden Melendez hitting his 11th home run of the season to score two of them.

“It was great to take it all in and have it soak in,” said Switalski, who went 3 2/3 innings as the starter and gave up six hits, but no runs. “When the guys say play ball, you had to get focused.”

Carson Estridge picked up his second save of the season with a scoreless ninth.

West Virginia’s offense, meanwhile, was a mixture of timely hitting and taking advantage of some opportunities.

The Mountaineers took a 3-0 lead in the third with Sam White scoring one with an RBI double, while two more came in on a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly.

In the fourth, Grant Hussey was hit by a pitch and then took second on a balk. Brodie Kresser reached on a bunt and Aaron Jamison hit an RBI single.

Spencer Barnett scored Kresser with a sacrifice bunt and Logan Sauve’s single scored Jamison for a 6-0 lead.

Notes

** WVU star J.J. Wetherholt left the game in the top of the third inning after feeling tightness in his hamstring. Wetherholt, who missed 24 games with a hamstring injury, got his first start at shortstop since Feb. 19. He singled in the bottom of the first inning, but came up with a slight limp after rounding first base.

** WVU and Pitt will meet once more this season on April 30, at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. WVU won last year’s meeting at the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates 9-4.

** There is no timetable set for the return of WVU relief pitcher David Hagaman, who injured his pitching elbow Sunday against UCF.

“We’re still sending in results to doctors,” Mazey said.

A redshirt sophomore, Hagaman has pitched in 14 games this season. He is 2-3 with a 5.91 ERA. He has 49 strikeouts over 35 innings.