March 3, 2013
Charleston, S.C. – The University of Pittsburgh (5-4) baseball team dropped a 6-4 contest to VCU (8-0) in its final game of the Charleston Crab House Shootout this afternoon at Riley Park
“Very tough game today,” said Pitt head coach Joe Jordano. “We battled back and had the winning run at the plate in the ninth. We have a lot of work to do but we played hard to the final out. Back to work on Monday.”
Billy Creighton (3-0) picked up the win for VCU after pitching 8.2 innings, allowing four runs and striking out 11, while Matt Lees picked up his fifth save of the season for the Rams. Andrew Belfiglio (FR/Newton Square, Pa.) (0-1) took the loss for Pitt.
After Pitt starter Rhys Aldenhoven (JR/Victoria, Australia) held VCU scoreless for the first four innings, the Panthers got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning. Stephen Vranka (JR/Monroeville, Pa.) led off the inning with a single up the middle and was moved over on a fielder’s choice from Evan Oswald (SR/Butler, Pa.). Alert baserunning from Vranka allowed him to move over to third on a flyout to deep center. The extra 90 feet proved to be the difference in scoring a run as Vranka was able to come home on a passed ball to give Pitt the 1-0 lead.
VCU tied the game up in the top half of the sixth inning. Bill Cullen led off the inning with a triple to center and was brought home on a one out RBI single from Joey Cujas. The Rams were able to load the bases with one out but Aldenhoven was able to pitch out of the jam, getting a pair of routine flyouts to get out of the inning allowing the lone run. The sixth inning marked the end of the day for Aldenhoven who finished with a line of 6.0 innings pitched, five hits, one run and two strikeouts.
The Rams tacked on runs in the seventh and eighth and added a trio of runs in the top of the ninth to push their lead to 6-1 before Pitt mounted a rally in the bottom of the ninth to crawl back into the game.
Casey Roche (JR/Downingtown, Pa.) got the Panthers’ rally started when he drew a one-out walk. Dylan Wolsonovich (FR/Ford City, Pa.) followed up with a walk of his own to put runners at first and second with one out. A wild pitch from Creighton moved Roche and Wolsonovic to second and third with one out. Creighton was able to get the second out of the inning on his 11th strikeout of the day before Steven Shelinsky Jr. (JR/Yardley, Pa.) came to the plate and smashed a three-run homerun to straight away center to chase Creighton from the game and cut the VCU lead to 6-4.
VCU went to the pen and brought in Lees to try to get the final out of the game. Boo Vazquez (SO/Youngstown, Ohio) coaxed a walk to continue the rally and was followed up by Eric Hess (SO/Erie, Pa) who roped a double down the right field line. Unfortunately for Pitt, Vazquez was gunned down at home on the play to end the game and give VCU the 6-4 victory.
The Panthers will be back in action on Friday, March 8, when they host Youngstown State at 3 p.m. in its first game of the Panther Classic at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Center.