Feb. 15, 2014
PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (1-0) used five two out RBI and a key two run homerun from Jordan Frabasilio (JR/Chandler, Ariz.) to down Coastal Carolina (0-1) this afternoon at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark.
Matt Wotherspoon (SR/Mountain Top, Pa.) (1-0) earned the win after tossing 5.1 innings of four hit ball with three strikeouts. Ben Smith (0-1) took the loss and Joseph Harvey (JR/Audobon, Pa.) picked up the save.
“Spoon gave us a chance today,” said Pitt head coach Joe Jordano. “He really pitched a solid game and our bullpen did a solid job as well. We looked a bit like it was the first time on a field, at times a little rough, but we had some great situational at-bats and scored five runs with two outs and that was the difference in the ballgame.”
Pitt got on the board first in the top of the fifth when Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.) legged out an infield single to short, bringing home Manny Pazos (FR/Miami, Fla.). Pazos had reached on a leadoff walk and advanced into scoring position on aggressive baserunning on a pair of wild pitches.
The Panthers extended their lead the following inning. Frabasillio led off the inning with a rope into left. Eric Hess (JR/Erie, Pa.) followed by getting hit by a pitch to move Frabasillio over to second. Matt Johnson (JR/Plano, Texas) moved the runners up with a perfectly laid down sacrifice bunt to the pitcher. Pazos then brought Frabasillio home with a sac fly to center to push Pitt’s lead to 2-0.
Coastal added a run of their own in the home half of the sixth, but Jon Danielczyk (SR/Erie, Pa.) came out of the pen in relief of Wotherspoon and got Nick Oberg to softly line a 1-1 pitch to Johnson at short who alertly fired the ball to Dylan Wolsonovich (SO/Ford City, Pa.) for a 5-4 double play to get the Panthers out of the jam.
The momentum from the double play seemed to add fuel to the Pitt bats as it was able to push three runs across in the visitors half of the seventh. Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.) drew a four pitch walk to start the rally forcing a Chanticleer call to the bullpen. Following Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio) reaching on an error, Roche moved the runners up 90 feet with a bunt to the pitcher. Steven Shelinsky Jr. (SR/Furlong, Pa.) sent a hard liner into right which was snared by the CCU fielder but it was enough to plate Vranka and give Pitt a two run cushion with two down in the frame. Frabasilio then stepped into the batter’s box and hammered a 1-1 offering from Andrew Beckwith over the left field wall to push the Panthers’ lead to 5-1 going into the stretch.
The Chanticleers plated a run in the home half of the seventh and were threatening for more with the heart of the lineup due up, forcing Jordano to call to the pen for lefty Renan Rodriguez (SO/Miami, Fla.). Rodriguez came in to set up a lefty-lefty matchup with CCU’s Colin Hering and was able to get the three-hole hitter to ground out harmlessly to Wolsonovich at second to end the inning.
CCU added another in the eighth to cut the Pitt lead to 5-3 but the Panthers responded with a pair in their own in the top of the ninth when Hess roped a clutch two-out single into left field which plated Shelinsky and Vazquez who had moved to second and third on a double steal.
The Chanticleers brought the tying run to the dish in the bottom of the ninth but Harvey was able to get Richard Carter to harmlessly fly out to right center to end the game.
“Coastal is a very good team and it’s going to be another grinder of a day with two on tap tomorrow,” Jordano said. “It’s good to be able to talk about what we need to improve upon coming off a win rather than a loss. Nonetheless, we have a ways to go but we played hard tonight. We’ll take it one day at a time and get back after it tomorrow.”
The Panthers and Chanticleers will be back in action in a double header tomorrow beginning at 11 a.m. In game one, Rhys Aldenhoven (SR/Victoria, Australia) will toe the rubber against Tyler Herb. Game two will feature CCU’s Dalton Moats against a Pitt hurler who will be determined.