Backyard Brawl Has Postseason Implications for WVU, Pitt

West Virginia catcher McGwire Holbrook stomps on the plate after his home run

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Tuesday’s rubber match of the 2022 baseball edition of the Backyard Brawl would be spicy enough on its own, but there’s more to the 6:30 p.m. Pitt- West Virginia contest at Monongalia County Ballpark than just bragging rights, with each team owning one win in this year’s three-game series.

There’s also the race for a postseason berth in the NCAA Regionals, as both teams are currently in most, but not all, projections for a spot in the 16-regional, 64-team championship.

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WVU, currently 28-18 overall, holds a current RPI of 39, and is slotted as a No. 3 seed in either the Blacksburg or Charlottesville Regional by three different national projections. Pitt (No. 59, 26-19) is in more of a bubble position, forecast as a No. 3 in College Station (but as the last  team in) or just edging in to the Corvallis Region, while being seen as the first team out in a third prognostication.

That makes Tuesday’s contest even more important for both teams, as a win will boost both strength of schedule outcomes and the RPI for the winner while providing a bit of momentum for the final two weeks of the regular season. Seven of Pitt’s eight remaining games come against teams in Quadrant 1 (1-50) of the RPI, while WVU has four — three against Oklahoma and the finale against the Panthers.

West Virginia infielder Ben Abernathy rounds third to score a run

WVU has had a mix and match approach on the mound in its most recent mid-week games. The Mountaineers have sent Will Watson (Charleston), Aidan Major (Penn State, Pitt), Tyler Strechay (Penn State, Marshall) and Ben Abernathy (Pitt) to the hill in its six previous non-conference games, and could see a combination of those in action in its final such scheduled game of the year.

Neither team announced a starting pitcher prior to the contest.

SEAMS AND BARRELS

If WVU, as expected, does not add another non conference game between this weekend’s road series at Oklahoma (May 13-15) and the home set finale against Kansas State (May 19-21), it will have played three games fewer than the maximum 56 allowed regular season contests.

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Including the Division II contest against the University of Charleston (which is not included in RPI calculations), WVU is 18-10 in non-conference play this season.

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Pitt took the first game of this year’s series by the score of 9-6 at its home field, while WVU responded with a 3-2, 11-inning triumph at PNC Park, home of MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates.

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While West Virginia lists a 111-93 advantage in the all-time series over Pitt, the Panthers credit the Mountaineers with only an 87-75 advantage.

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Home Page forums Backyard Brawl Has Postseason Implications for WVU, Pitt

Home Page forums Backyard Brawl Has Postseason Implications for WVU, Pitt