Baseball, WVU Sports

Grant Hussey sets WVU home run record, Mountaineers trounce Pitt at PNC Park

PITTSBURGH — The first one sliced down the left field line, sort of like a weird tee shot that had just enough juice behind it to get up in the air.

There was no doubt about the second home run Grant Hussey took out of PNC Park on Tuesday, a hard blast to right field that easily cleared the 21-foot high Roberto Clemente wall and landing about six rows deep into the empty stands.

One squeaker, one majestic, but both of them put Hussey into the WVU record books as the school’s top home run hitter.

The junior first baseman also added a bunt single against the shift and drove in five runs, as the Mountaineers routed rival Pitt 11-1 inside the home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.


The game was stopped after the seventh inning due to the mercy rule.

“I looked at (the record) at the start of the season,” Hussey said. “It was always a goal of mine. I remember looking at it my sophomore year seeing if I was close.”

Hussey’s two home runs gave him 36 for his career, breaking the school record of 35 set by both Jedd Gyorko and Tim McCabe.

It was Hussey’s fourth multi-homer game of his career, and he now has 11 on the season to tie for the team lead.

“I felt like a little kid out there today,” Hussey continued. “That was probably the most emotion I’ve ever had running around the bases, and I’m not too much of an emotional person.”

Hussey’s run at the record began with his first-ever college hit, a grand slam that helped WVU beat Central Michigan in his first game.

That one came in Conway, S.C., just outside of Myrtle Beach, but still close enough to feel that fresh ocean breeze.

The Allegheny River and the downtown Pittsburgh skyline was where Hussey’s journey finally ended.

“It’s definitely cool,” Hussey said. “Hitting a home run in a big league ballpark is pretty awesome. It would have been cool if it was (in Morgantown), but there were a (lot) of people here tonight that got to see it.”

As for the game, well, the Mountaineers (27-16) got their usual result whenever they play at PNC, or against Pitt for that matter.

WVU improved to 6-0 at PNC and won its seventh consecutive game against the Panthers (18-23).

Benjamin Lumsden also added a home run to deep center and J.J. Wetherholt, Logan Sauve and Sam White all had two hits each. WVU, which has won its last four in a row, racked up 14 hits in all, six of them going for extra bases.

“You hit a double on the first pitch of the game, it kind of sets the tone for what the rest of the night was going to be,” WVU head coach Randy Mazey said. “The sweep we had last week in Lubbock (Texas) was a wake-up call for our guys. You go back and look at any good team that has gotten swept at any point in the season, they usually get pretty hot after that happens.”

Sophomore Gavin Van Kempen picked up his seventh win of the season. He started and went three innings on a declared bullpen game, while allowing no runs and just two hits. He struck out four.

WVU now gets back into Big 12 play, when the Mountaineers travel to Cincinnati for a three-game series that begins Friday.

WVU enters that series tied with Oklahoma State for second place. Both schools are just one game back of Oklahoma for first place.

Hussey, a Parkersburg native, will enter that series with a lot of weight off his shoulders. Before Tuesday, he had just one home run over his last 10 games.

He said he was glad the chase was over and hoped to add a few more to the record.

“When an in-state kid does something like that, it just makes the whole state proud of him,” Mazey said. “We’re all proud of him. I’m actually glad it’s behind him now, so he can just worry about smashing baseballs and not think about it anymore.

“Usually when that happens, it takes a kind of burden off your shoulders and frees you up a little bit.”