Feb. 16, 2014
Myrtle Beach, S.C. – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (2-1) dropped a hard fought 8-5 contest to Coastal Carolina (1-2) in the second game of a double header, a seven inning contest, this afternoon at TicketReturn.com Field at Pelicans Ballpark. With the series victory, the Panthers have won their last six season opening three-game sets dating back to 2000.
“It was a long day at the ballpark,” said Pitt head coach Joe Jordano. “We did a solid job in game one to win the series. We had an opportunity in game two but credit goes to Coastal Carolina for scoring six runs with two outs.”
Mike Morrison (1-0) earned the win for Coastal while Adam Dian (JR/Gibsonia, Pa.) (0-1) took the loss for Pitt and Tyler Poole (1) picked up the save.
For the third consecutive game, the Panthers got on the board first this time in the top of the second. Steven Shelinsky Jr. (SR/Furlong, Pa.) and Jordan Frabasilio (JR/Chandler, Ariz.) started the inning with a pair of singles into left. Matt Johnson (JR/Plano, Texas) moved the pair into scoring position with a well-executed bunt to first. Eric Hess (JR/Erie, Pa.) sent an 0-2 pitch into left which was tracked down for a sacrifice fly giving Pitt the 1-0 lead.
The Chanticleers answered with a four spot in the bottom of the third which chased Pitt starter T.J. Zeuch (FR/Mason, Ohio) from the game after 2.2 innings of work with four strikeouts and four unearned runs. Renan Rodriguez (SO/Miami, Fla.) was able to get the Panthers out of the jam in the third and held CCU scoreless in the fourth as well allowing Pitt to claw back into the game.
In the top of the fifth, the Panther bats came through scoring four runs and regaining the lead. Johnson led off the frame by reaching second on a throwing error. A Hess flyball to right allowed Johnson to move to third. Caleb Parry (FR/Riverside, Calif.) was able to work a walk and Dylan Wolsonovich (SO/Ford City, Pa.) reached on a fielding error to score Johnson. Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.) drew a four pitch walk to put ducks on the pond and bring a call to the Chanticleer bullpen. Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio) wasted little time getting to the CCU reliever ripping a 1-0 delivery up the middle for a pair of RBI which evened the score. A wild pitch three batters later scored Vranka and gave Pitt the 6-5 lead.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, the lead was short-lived as the Chants scored a pair of runs in the home halves of the fifth and sixth to close out the game with an 8-5 win to salvage a game in the three-game set.
“For the first weekend out we certainly did some good things but we also identified several areas that need improvement,” Jordano said. “It was a solid start and we look forward to getting back to practice and getting back to work to prepare for another challenging weekend in South Carolina.”
Pitt will be back in action next Friday, Feb. 21, when it faces Butler (1-1) in its first game of the USC-Upstate Tournament in Spartanburgh, S.C.