Baseball, Sports, WVU Sports

Snyder’s Ks, Hill’s doubles highlight another WVU win over Pitt

These trips to PNC Park are working out well for the Mountaineers.

So are these Backyard Brawl matchups.

No. 21 West Virginia won for the third straight time at the home of the Pirates, and the sixth straight time against Pitt by coasting to a 9-4 victory Tuesday.

Another streak continued also: West Virginia (32-18) improved to 10-0 in games this season started by Nick Snyder.

“I really like where the Mountaineers are right now,” said coach Randy Mazey.

Snyder (8-1) allowed one run on three hits over seven innings and struck out 11.

During his past three starts, Snyder owns 39 strikeouts in 22 1/3 innings. With a 1.95 ERA, he has emerged as the team’s No. 2 starter though he has yet to join the Big 12 rotation.

“We thought about flipping him to a weekend starter, but as soon as you do that you mess with two or three guys’ routines,” Mazey said. “He’s in a great rhythm right now, and he’s going to pitch in the conference tournament next Wednesday.”

Tyler Doanes led WVU with three hits, and Darius Hill added two doubles to match Jedd Gyorko’s school record with 73.

“That’s pretty special,” Hill said. “Jedd’s one of the best — if not the best — player in the history of this program. It’s unbelievable to be mentioned in the same breath as him. It’s really cool to have my name on that record.”

Thanks to RBI doubles from Doanes and Hill, West Virginia struck for three runs in the third against Chris Cappas (3-4).

Pitt (20-32) turned to reliever Chris Gomez in the fifth, when an error by second baseman Gregory Ryan stretched the deficit to 5-1. Ryan mishandled Paul McIntosh’s two-out grounder before Ivan Gonzalez softly lined an 0-2 pitch over shortstop for an RBI single.

Pitt’s bullpen woes ballooned when Brady Devereux was tagged for four runs, the first scoring on Hill’s double in the sixth.

TJ Lake’s full-count double in the seventh scored Gonzalez, and served as a precursor to Doanes doubling to right field for two more runs.

That was ample support for Snyder, the 6-foot-5 lefthander who had given up a homer in 49 1/3 innings this season until Nico Popa’s solo shot in the second.

“I was missing up early, and I think I was rushing toward the plate a little bit,” he said. “From the fourth inning on I found my rhythm and I was able to locate the ball down in the zone. My slider got sharper as the game went on.”

Erasing a two-on threat in the third inning, Snyder fanned Connor Perry and threw a 3-2 fastball past Popa.

He received some defensive assistance in the fourth when Tevin Tucker’s sliding stab at an up-the-middle grounder started a double play.

Snyder retired 10 of the last 11 batters he faced and departed having thrown 103 pitches, 71 for strikes.

“Snyder has done a great job for them all year and he was outstanding again today,” Pitt coach Mike Bell said. “He held us in check there early on and their offense did a great job. They can drive the ball far, they can hurt you in speed game, and they kind of did a little bit of both there.”

Mountaineers reliever Dillon Meadows gave up back-to-back walks in the eighth before Cole MacLaren homered to left field.