April 23, 2010
PITTSBURGH - The 24th-ranked Pitt baseball team (28-10, 10-3 Big East) survived a rally by West Virginia (17-21, 3-10 Big East) to defeat the Mountaineers, 13-9, Friday night in Morgantown for a win in game one of a three-game series.
Junior pitcher Corey Baker picked up his ninth win of the season for the Panthers. Baker (New City, N.Y./Clarkstown South) pitched 6.2 innings for the victory, giving up nine runs off 11 hits on the night.
Junior third baseman Joe Leonard again was outstanding at the plate, batting 4-for-6 with two home runs, three runs batted in and two runs scored. In his last two games played, Leonard (Dawson, Pa./Connellsville) has hit 8-for-12 for a .667 average.
The Panthers built up a strong lead early on, taking a 7-1 lead at the end of three innings. In the top of the second, Sean Toole (Edwardsville, Pa./Lackawanna) singled up the middle to drive in Pitt's first run of the game. Later in the inning, Zach Duggan (Cranberry, Pa./Seneca Valley) tripled to right center to give Pitt the 3-0 lead.
West Virginia added a run of their own in the bottom of the inning on a fielder's choice, which brought home a runner from third.
In the top of the third, the Panthers got things started with Leonard's first home run of the day to lead off the innings. Cory Brownsten reached base on a fielding error, while bringing home Kevan Smith for the unearned run. Ronald Sucre added a sacrifice fly to bring home another Pitt run for the 7-1 lead after three.
Pitt added two additional runs in the top of the fourth on Leonard's second home run of the day, a two-run shot to center field. In the top of the fifth, the Panthers added three runs for the 12-1 advantage.
West Virginia responded in the bottom of the sixth inning with a five-run output off of five hits. The Mountaineers continued their rally in the top of the seventh, adding three more runs to cut the Pitt lead to 12-9 and threaten Pitt's once commanding lead.
Pitt brought home an additional insurance run in the top of the eight when Phil Konieczny scored from third on a wild pitch for the 13-9 lead.
Panther reliever J.R. Leonardi entered in relief for the final 2.1 innings of work, giving up no runs on just one hit for the save. Leonardi held West Virginia scoreless in the eighth and ninth innings.
Pitt and West Virginia will continue their three-game series on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Hawley Field. The series wraps up Sunday at noon.