Feb. 24, 2013
Spartanburg, S.C. – The University of Pittsburgh (5-1) baseball team used seven run first and ninth innings and 17 total hits to defeat Wofford (4-3),19-8, and capture the weekend series this afternoon at Russell C. King Field.
The Pitt offensive surge was paced by Steven Shelinsky Jr. (JR, Yardly, Pa.), who tallied five RBI on a pair of homeruns, and Eric Hess (SO, Erie, Pa.), who went 4-for-5 with three runs batted in.
J.R. Leonardi (JR, Pittsburgh, Pa.) (1-0) picked up the win in relief for the Panthers, while Dominick Del Monte (0-1) took the loss for the Terriers.
Pitt jumped on Del Monte early in the contest, chasing the lefty starter before he even recorded an out. After Stephen Vranka (JR, Monroeville, Pa.) and A.J. Lardo (FR, Baltimore, Md.) drew walks to start the game, Casey Roche (JR, Downingtown, Pa.) ripped a single to bring Vranka home and give Pitt the early lead. Elvin Soto (SO, New York, N.Y.) quickly added to the Panthers’ advantage when he slapped the first pitch he saw into left field to score Lardo. Shelinsky was able to break the game open early when he blasted a 1-1 pitch into the right field bleachers for a three run bomb, his second home run on the season. The Shelinksy homerun closed the book on Del Monte after 0.0 pitched and five earned runs on three hits.
The Panthers kept up their aggressive approach as Del Monet gave way to Tanner Hawley. Sam Parente (SR, Pittston, Pa.) roped a double down the left field line which was followed by an Hess double to left center plating Parente and giving the Panthers a 6-0 lead with no outs in the first. After an Evan Oswald (SR, Butler, Pa.) single snuck through the left side of the infield, Ronald Sucre (SR/Miami, Fla.) brought home Hess on a sharply hit ball to the third baseman to make the score 7-0 in favor of Pitt.
After Wofford scored a run in the bottom of the first, Pitt struck again in the top of the second as Roche drew a walk and stole second and was brought home on yet another bomb to deep right from Shelinksy.
The Terriers struck for two of their own in the bottom of the third inning to make the score 9-3 but the Panthers added on another run in the top of the fourth. Roche drew a walk to lead off the inning and was able to move over to second on an errant pickoff attempt by new pitcher DooJoon Park. Parente was able to bring Roche home a batter later with a sharp single into center to put Pitt up 10-3.
Wofford cut into the lead again with a five run bottom half of the fifth inning chasing Pitt starter Rhys Aldenhoven (JR, Victoria, Australia) from the game with a line of 4.2 innings, six hits, six earned runs and three strikeouts. Jeff Kelly (SR, Pottstown, Pa.) came out of the pen in relief but was unable to get the final out of the inning and gave way to Leonardi who was able to get the final out on a strikeout of Clark Wise.
The Panthers added another run to their advantage in the top of the sixth. Soto started the rally by drawing a walk and was moved over to third on the third hit of the day by Shelinsky, this one a rope into left field. Following a Wofford call to the pen, Hess doubled into left scoring Soto and giving Pitt an 11-8 lead.
Leonardi stayed in for the next three innings and was able to keep the Terriers off the scoreboard allowing a mere two hits and recording four strikeouts.
While Leonardi kept the Wofford bats quite the Pitt offense continued to roll adding a run in the eighth off a Hess RBI into left and then exploding for seven runs in the top of the ninth.
Sucre and Vranka led off the ninth with a pair of walks and Lardo reached on an error by the Terrier shortstop to load the bases with no outs. A Will Stillman wild pitch allowed Sucre to get the first run of the inning for Pitt. After a Roche groundout, Soto singled to bring home a pair and extend the lead. Stillman was able to get the second out of the inning but the Panthers offense was able to chase him thanks to a Parente RBI single to right and a Hess walk. Bradley Evisch got the call for Wofford and was quickly jumped on when Oswald cranked a 3-1 fastball to deep left field for his first-career homerun, a three-run shot which gave Pitt a 19-8 lead.
Joe Harvey (SO/Audobon, Pa.) got the call from Jordano to get the final three outs of the game and delivered allowing a single baserunner and registering a pair of strikeouts, including a swinging strikeout by Matt Moore to end the game.
The Panthers will be back in action on Friday, March 1, when they face the Citadel at 4 p.m. in the first game of a three game tournament hosted by the Citadel at Riley Park in Charleston, S.C. Pitt will also face UNC Ashville and VCU during the weekend’s competition.