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Panthers to Host West Virginia in Backyard Brawl Series Finale

Stephen Vranka has been the spark plug of the Panthers' lineup this season, leading the team in hits, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

Stephen Vranka has been the spark plug of the Panthers' lineup this season, leading the team in hits, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

March 31, 2014

Pitt (15-11, 7-5 ACC) vs. West Virginia (15-8, 2-0 Big 12)
April 1, 2014 • Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex • Pittsburgh, Pa.

Tuesday: 6 p.m.

Live Stats: GameTracker
Radio: Mountaineer Athletics ($)

Twitter/Media Relations: @PittBaseballACC
Twitter/Coaching Staff: @PITTBASEBALL

All-Time Record vs. West Virginia: 71-77 (.480 winning percentage)
Joe Jordano vs. West Virginia: 22-20 (.524 winning percentage)

First Meeting: 1939 | W, 3-0
Last Meeting: March 25, 2014 at West Virginia in Morgantown, W. Va. | L, 6-3

PROBABLE PITCHING

Tuesday: RHP T.J. Zeuch (FR/Mason, Ohio) (1-2, 1.98 ERA) vs. TBA

GAME INFORMATION

The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (15-11, 7-5 ACC) will host West Virginia (15-8, 2-0 Big 12) in the finale of the 2014 Backyard Brawl series Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Winning eight of their last nine games, the Panthers have settled into a state of consistency both at the plate and on the mound after dropping three games to Virginia Tech on March 14-15 in Blacksburg, Va. Most recently, Pitt swept No. 23 Georgia Tech at home on March 28-30 to garner votes in the national polls for the first time this season.

The lone loss attributed to the Panthers’ record over the past two weeks came against the Mountaineers on March 25, when Pitt’s five-game winning streak was snapped with a 6-3 defeat on the road. However, although West Virginia has won four of its past five games, it will be welcomed to Charles L. Cost Field this weekend in the midst of one of the most impressive home stretches in Panthers history.

Pitt has opened its slate at Charles L. Cost Field at a perfect 8-0 mark, a record that stands as the fifth longest home winning streak in program history and three victories shy of the team’s best trend (11) originally set in 1994 and 1995. The last time the Panthers won at least eight consecutive games to start its home schedule was when it claimed victories in 10 straight contests in 2010.

Aside from winning a program-record 19 home conference match-ups in a row, Pitt has also won 19 of its last 21 games at Charles L. Cost Field (.905 winning percentage), in addition to 33 of its last 38 (.868 winning percentage) and 63 of its last 83 (.759 winning percentage).

Dating back to the start of the 2010 season, the Panthers have registered an 8-4 record (.667 winning percentage) against the Mountaineers, as well as being 3-1 at home versus West Virginia during that span. 

With regards to individual career numbers against the Mountaineers, Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.) tops the charts with a .357 batting average to go along with one home run and four RBI. In the season series opener last Tuesday, Roche launched a two-run home run to pull Pitt within a run in the top of the eighth inning.

Additionally, Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.), the Panthers’ team leader in hits (33), batting average (.306), on-base percentage (.419) and slugging percentage (.500), is a .346 career hitter against West Virginia with seven runs scored and five extra-base hits. 

T.J. Zeuch (FR/Mason, Ohio), who allowed just two earned runs with two strikeouts over four innings of work during his midweek outing last week, will make his second career appearance against the Mountaineers Tuesday evening.

Since the start of the 2008 season, Pitt has tallied a 110-63 record (.636 winning percentage) against non-conference opponents, including a 22-9 showing (.710 winning percentage) in 2013 and an 8-6 mark this year. The Panthers have won 15 or more non-conference games in each of the past five seasons, never falling below a .615 percentage during that stretch. Pitt, which totaled 7.9 runs per game against out-of-league opponents in 2013, is averaging 7.0 runs per games during non-conference play this season.

For more information on Panthers baseball, follow the media relations Twitter account at @PittBaseballACC and the coaching staff at @PITTBASEBALL.