Feb. 24, 2012
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The Pitt baseball team took it’s great start at the plate to a new level on Friday, hitting three home runs on its way to a 22-12 blowout at Wofford.
Freshman Elvin Soto smacked a pair of home runs and senior Rick Devereaux added one as Pitt improved its record to 2-3. The Panthers scored 11 runs in the first three innings before allowing the Terriers to cross the plate for the first time in the bottom of the third.
“We swung the bats well today again, did a great job on the bases and played solid defensively. We did a decent job on the mound and I am very confident that will continue to improve. We are looking forward to tomorrow,” Pitt head coach Joe Jordano said.
After being named to the Big East Weekly Honor Roll following the opening weekend of the season, Devereaux showed no signs of slowing down in this series. When not trying to get out of the way of wild pitches – he was hit three times in the game – Devereaux was busy keeping his season average at .500, while upping his slugging percentage to .909. Already the Big East leader in RBI, he added two more, giving him 13 in five games.
Big things are expected of Soto this season, and he showed why with his performance on Friday. The switch-hitting catcher hit the first long ball of his career, a solo shot in the fourth inning, and added his second with a two-run blast in the eighth.
Keeping up with its eight-runs-per-game pace seemed like it was going to be a difficult task, but Pitt had no trouble matching that average, reaching eight runs in the second inning. The 22 runs in the game give the Panthers 54 (10.8 per game) on the season.
Casey Roche played a pivotal role in the offensive output, driving in five runs with a 3-for-6 day at the plate. Roche was one of seven Pitt players with at least two RBI, joining Soto (4), Sam Parente (3), Stephen Vranka (2), Devereaux (2), Derik Wilson (2) and Kevin Johnson (2).
Parente was inserted into the clean-up spot in his Pitt debut, hoping to give the team some more pop at a corner position. He didn’t disappoint with a 2-for-4, three RBI game. He reached base on five of his seven plate appearances.
"What we've done offensively hasn't surprised me at all," Roche said. "Everybody put an unbelievable amount of work in this offseason. We could throw anybody on the team in the lineup and they would produce. It's been great, and we will keep getting better."
Devereaux wasn’t the only one watching for errant pitches. Parente was hit once, as were Steven Shelinsky, Jr. and Elvin Soto, giving the Panthers six HBPs in the game and 12 on the season.
Anthony Defabio is known as one of Pitt’s most disciplined players at the plate, as evidenced by his .636 on-base percentage through five games. The senior reached base three times against Wofford, all on walks.
Eight Pitt players combined for 19 hits against five Terrier pitchers. With another great performance, the Panthers have six players with an on-base percentage better than .400, including four players over .500.
Not that he needs it often, but senior pitcher Matt Iannazzo was the beneficiary of the 22 runs. The Pitt senior, who entered the game seventh on the NCAA Division I wins list among active players, picked up the 22nd victory of his career. He went 5.2 innings and allowed six runs, four of which were earned. He gave up eight hits and walked two batters, while striking out seven. He is just two wins away from tying Corey Baker for the program record.
Pitt looks to even its record when the series with Wofford resumes on Saturday at 2 p.m. Ethan Mildren is scheduled to start on the mound for the Panthers.