WVU Downs No. 18 Pitt
PITTSBURGH (February 22, 2015) – A pin by Jake A. Smith led the way for the West Virginia University wrestling team, who earned a 24-14 comeback win over rival No. 18 Pitt at Fitzgerald Field House on Sunday afternoon to close out the regular season.
It marks the first time since 2007 the Mountaineers (9-9, 0-3) have topped the Panthers in the Backyard Brawl. The victory was also WVU’s second this season over a top-25 team, as they previously defeated No. 25 Bucknell on January 9 at the Virginia Duals.
“I’m so proud of our family,” said first-year head coach Sammie Henson. “We out-battled a tough Pitt team today. It was a long time coming for this program – eight years in the making. We look to continue to grow as a team. It was nice to send out seniors out with a win over a rival they have never beaten.”
Smith’s pin of Nick Bonaccorsi at 197 pounds was a turning point the match, as it pushed WVU in front 12-11 with four bouts remaining. Bonaccorsi got the initial takedown, but Smith escaped and got a takedown of his own before turning him for the pin at 1:45.
West Virginia started the match down 7-0 after dropping a major decision at 149 and a tiebreaker decision at 157. Ross Renzi put the Mountaineers on the board in the third bout with a 5-2 decision over Cody Wiercioch at 165 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Renzi started on bottom in the second and registered an escape for a 1-0 lead. He sent Wiercioch to the mat for two soon after, but Wiercioch escaped. Renzi added another takedown to close out the second with a 5-1 lead. Wiercioch started the third period on the bottom and escaped to add another point to his tally. Neither Wiercioch nor Renzi scored again, giving Renzi the win as West Virginia trailed 11-3.
The Panthers took a major decision at 174 before the Mountaineers were able to add three more to their team score as Bubba Scheffel recorded a 9-2 decision over Troy Reaghard at 184 pounds. Scheffel claimed a pair of first-period takedowns for a 4-1 after three minutes. Starting in the defensive position, he escaped to make it a 5-1 advantage before adding another takedown to pad his lead at 7-1. Reaghard escaped to start the third, but was called for stalling to give Scheffel a point and the 8-1 lead. He would add another for riding time in taking the 9-2 decision and cutting the WVU deficit to five, down 11-6.
With Smith’s pin at 197 giving WVU a 12-11 lead, A.J. Vizcarrondo kept the momentum going by edging out Ryan Solomon with a 2-1 decision at heavyweight. The two battled through a scoreless first before Solomon chose to the start the second on bottom. He escaped, but not before Vizcarrondo accrued some riding time. With choice in the third, Vizcarrondo started on bottom but escaped quickly to keep the riding time point, which gave him the decision and stretched WVU’s lead to 15-11.
Zeke Moisey claimed his seventh major decision of the season with a 14-5 win over Dom Forys at 125. Moisey used three first-period takedowns to take a 6-2 lead before adding three more points in the second on an escape and a takedown. Forys started on the bottom in the third and escaped, only to be taken down twice more. Moisey added the point for riding time to put the Mountaineers in front 19-11 with the major.
The Panthers made up some ground with a decision at 133 to cut WVU’s lead to five at 19-14. However, No. 13/16 Michael Morales battled from the start, winning a 22-5 tech. fall against Ben Ross at 141 pounds. Morales came close to pinning Ross in the first period, but settled for a 7-2 lead on a takedown, a trio of nearfall points and a reversal. Starting on bottom in the second, Morales registered a reversal and two more back points to stretch the lead to 11-2. He nearly pinned Ross again in the third, but instead used three takedowns and four total nearfall points before adding another for riding time to take the tech. fall at the end of the third and secure the victory for the Mountaineers.
West Virginia will travel to Ames, Iowa, on March 7 for the Big 12 Championships at Hilton Coliseum on the campus of Iowa State.
West Virginia 24 No. 18 Pitt
149: No. 20 Mike Racciato (Pitt) major dec. Roman Perryman (WVU), 13-4
157: Ronnie Garbinsky (Pitt) dec. Brutus Scheffel (WVU), 4-3 TB-2
165: Ross Rezi (WVU) dec. Cody Wiercioch (Pitt), 5-2
174: No. 8 Tyler Wilps (Pitt) major dec. Parker VonEgidy (WVU), 14-5
184: Bubba Scheffel (WVU) dec. Troy Reaghard (Pitt), 9-2
197: Jake A. Smith (WVU pinned Nick Bonaccorsi (Pitt), 1:45
HWT: A.J. Vizcarrondo (WVU) dec. Ryan Solomon (Pitt), 2-1
125: Zeke Moisey (WVU) major dec. Dom Forys (Pitt), 14-5
133: Nick Zanetta (Pitt) dec. Cory Stainbrook (WVU), 3-1
141: No. 13/16 Michael Morales (WVU) tech. fall Ben Ross (Pitt), 22-4 (7:00)
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