LOUISVILLE, KY — The University of Pittsburgh baseball team opened up ACC play Friday evening at No. 4 Louisville, falling to the undefeated Cardinals by a score of 3-0 at Jim Patterson Stadium.
The Cardinals struck first in the home portion of the opening frame, plating a pair. Back-to-back one-out singles from Colby Fitch and Devin Mann put a pair on for Louisville as the duo moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Brendan McKay would send a sacrifice fly into left to score Fitch and a single by Drew Ellis scored Mann, giving the Cardinals a 2-0 lead.
In the third, Louisville would add another as a single up the middle from Colin Lyman allowed Ellis to score after a two-out double and wild pitch put the first baseman in scoring position.
Louisville ace McKay was dealing from the start as he no-hit the Panthers through three innings, recording eight strikeouts before a one-out single up the middle by Frank Maldonado broke things up in the fourth. Another pair of strikeouts would end the frame, stranding Maldonado as McKay reached double-digit strikeouts through four innings.
Pitt starter Josh Mitchell would toss clean fourth and fifth innings, as he worked around a one-out hit batter in the fourth frame. In the fifth, with two on and two outs, head coach Joe Jordano would call on Chris Gomez and the freshman would get the final out to hold the score at 3-0 in favor of Louisville.
RJ Freure took over on the hill for the Panthers in the sixth and was solid, retiring the side in order including a swinging strikeout to end the inning. He would work around a one-out hit batsman in the seventh to keep the score at 3-0 in favor of the Cardinals.
The Panthers threatened in the eighth as a leadoff walk to Alex Amos kept Pitt in it. Nico Popa would lay down a sacrifice bunt to put Amos in scoring position but Pitt couldn’t bring him around as a strikeout and dribble groundout ended the inning.
Sidearm righty TJ Pagan came in for the Panthers in the 8th, working around a one-out double down the left field line and taking advantage of a hit runner to get a pair of outs to end the frame.
The Panther offense continued to struggle in the ninth as the middle of the order went down one-two-three to end the game.
“In the ACC, the margin of error is even finer, and Josh (Mitchell) battled today and got out of some tough situations,” said Jordano. “The bullpen did another solid job as well. Obviously we are struggling at the plate, but we did have a couple of opportunities to score, but we did not convert. We had six freshmen play in the game today and when you face a future first rounder like Brendan McKay, it’s a tough task.
“We have to continue to make adjustments and keep getting better each day. I look forward to getting back out there tomorrow.”
With the loss, Pitt falls to 7-5, 0-1 ACC. The two teams will return to action tomorrow in a 1 p.m. meeting at Jim Patterson Stadium.
Notes: Frank Maldonado (1-4) and P.J. DeMeo (1-3) were the only Panther batters to record a hit on the evening … with the loss, Josh Mitchell falls to 0-2 on the season … Caleb Parry extended his reached base streak to 13 with a walk … Maldonado extended his reached base streak to 11 … DeMeo and Maldonado each boast four-game hit streaks, the highest on the team … Louisville now holds a 15-8-0 all-time record over the Panthers.
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