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May 18, 2012

PITTSBURGH – Casey Roche had four hits and Pitt received a solid effort from its pitching staff against the top lineup in the BIG EAST, but the Panthers fell to visiting Louisville 6-5 in 12 innings on Thursday night at Charles L. Cost Field.

Despite the loss against nationally-ranked Louisville – the Cardinals were No. 22 in the latest Baseball America poll – Pitt is still just one game back of Villanova for the eighth and final spot in the conference tournament, with two games left to play. The Wildcats fell to Rutgers on Thursday, while Georgetown, which is tied with the Panthers for ninth, dropped their game with Cincinnati.

Stewart Ijames, the BIG EAST leader in RBI, one spot in front of Pitt’s Rick Devereaux, plated the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th innings with a bases-loaded walk. It was the only RBI of the game for Ijames, who also leads the conference in home runs.

The final run of the game was the only earned run allowed by the Pitt pitchers. Senior Matt Iannazzo made his final home start for the Panthers and received a no-decision. The program’s all-time wins leader went 6.2 innings and gave up five runs, but all of them were unearned as he lowered his season ERA to 3.76.

Joe Harvey relieved Iannazzo with two outs in the seventh, and following a hit-by-pitch on the first batter he faced, turned in a great relief outing. He went 4.1 innings, the second time he went four or more innings in relief this season, struck out five and allowed zero runs.

Pitt led 5-2 after three innings, but was doomed by Louisville’s three-run seventh inning.

The Panthers were also helped out by some defensive miscues as their first two runs of the game were unearned. Stephen Vranka led off the game with a walk and later scored on a double play, and Anthony Defabio reached on a fielder’s choice bunt attempt and scored on Sam Parente’s single to put the Panthers up 2-0 after the first inning.

With the score tied 2-2, Pitt added three more runs in the third inning. Boo Vazquez and Parente had RBI singles in the inning, while Roche scored on a groundout by Elvin Soto, who hustled to first to prevent a double play.

Roche’s four-hit night included two doubles, giving him 15 on the season. He is now second on the team with a .328 average.

Devereaux had two hits in the game to extend his on-base streak to 17 games and his hitting streak to nine games.

Pitt will host Louisville in the second game of the series on Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Charles L. Cost Field.

Pitt Drops Series Opener to Louisville in 12 Innings

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