Feb. 26, 2012
SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Starting pitcher Matt Wotherspoon turned in the team’s best outing of the season and Pitt erased a four-run deficit in an 8-4 win at Wofford on Sunday.
The Panthers (3-4) took two of three from the Terriers, scoring 37 runs in the series. Head coach Joe Jordano notched his 402nd win at Pitt, tying Bobby Lewis atop the program’s all-time list.
Wotherspoon went seven innings to pick up the win on the mound, striking out eight batters. All four runs, three of which were earned, that he gave up came in the fifth inning. In his other six scoreless innings, he gave up just three hits and two walks.
"I felt pretty good coming into the game with the mindset of just trying to keep the team in it,” Wotherspoon said. “The game went pretty smoothly through the first four innings but I fell out of my groove in the fifth. Our hitters responded well and we took the lead the next half inning. Winning this series was definitely a step in the right direction for us heading into next weekend."
Luke Novosel followed up Wotherspoon with two shutout innings, allowing one hit and striking out three batters. The sophomore has a team-best 3.18 ERA in three appearances this season.
“I was pleased with the way we responded today,” Jordano said. “Matt pitched very well and took us deep into the game. Luke came in and shut the door. Wofford is a very veteran team and are well coached. This was a good series win to build upon and we’ll go back to work on Tuesday.”
For the first time in seven games, the Pitt lineup started off slow. But once they found their groove, the Panthers quickly erased Wofford’s lead.
Trailing by four runs after five innings, Pitt scored six times in the top of the sixth. Once again, Anthony Defabio and Rick Devereaux provided the Panthers with a spark, leading off the sixth with back-to-back doubles. Casey Roche and Derik Wilson drew bases loaded walks in the inning, while Stephen Vranka hit a sac fly and DeFabio added an RBI single for his second hit of the frame.
Pitt added two unearned runs in the eighth inning. Kevin Johnson scored the first run on a wild pitch. The second insurance run was scored on Roche’s second bases loaded walk of the game.
Pitt now has the top scoring team in the Big East, averaging just under 10 runs per game. Devereaux, who has been one of a number of Panther batters off to a hot start, added one RBI to up his conference-leading total to 17.
Four Panthers entered the game in the top-10 in on-base percentage, led by DeFabio. The senior designated hitter reached base in five of his six plate appearances to raise his OBP to .697. Roche, who had two walks and two hits in the win over the Terriers, is right behind him with .576. Also in the top-10 in the Big East are Devereaux (.517) and Vranka (.500), who had one double and one walk on Sunday.
The Panthers will play another three games in South Carolina when they compete in the Coastal Carolina Invitational on March 2-4. Jordano will look to become Pitt baseball’s all-time winningest coach in the team’s opener against the host Chanticleers. Pitt’s other two opponents in the event are Illinois and St. John’s.