March 12, 2014
CLINTON, S.C. - The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (7-7, 1-2 ACC) defeated Presbyterian (7-9-1, 0-0 Big South), 10-9, in 11 innings Wednesday afternoon in Clinton, S.C., completing its first series sweep of the 2014 season. Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.), who drove in the game-winning run in the top of the 11th, highlighted the Panthers' victory with a 4-for-7 performance at the plate that featured one home run and a career-high six RBI.
Adam Dian (JR/Gibsonia, Pa.) (1-1, 4.76 ERA) received the winning decision after recovering from a blown save in the ninth with back-to-back shutout frames to finish the game. Trey Hayes (0-1, 8.59 ERA) took the loss for the Blue Hose, allowing just one run on five hits in a two-inning relief outing.
In the top of the first inning, Vranka jacked a solo home run, his second of the year, to deep left field to give Pitt an early 1-0 advantage.
During the home half of the second, Weston Jackson made his way to second base on a fielding error by Vranka in center field and advanced to third on a passed ball. When Jordan Frabasilio (JR/Chandler, Ariz.) threw home on an infield groundball to keep a running Jackson from scoring on the play, catcher Caleb Parry (FR/Riverside, Calif.) dropped the ball, allowing Presbyterian its first run of the game, 1-1. Jacob Midkiff then moved from first to third on consecutive passed balls and was knocked home by Brandon Martin on a sacrifice fly to center field, 2-1.
Frabasilio led off the top of the fourth inning with a hard-fought base on balls and A.J. Lardo (SO/Baltimore, Md.) followed with a one-out walk as well. Bennett Nalley then came on in relief of Michael Trebendis with two runners on base and proceeded to lead the bases by giving Matt Johnson (JR/Plano, Texas) the third free pass of the frame. Nick Yarnall (FR/Landisville, Pa.) roped a pinch-hit two-RBI single in the next at-bat to give the Panthers a 3-2 lead. Johnson and Yarnall each moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and Vranka tore the stitches off a Nalley offering for a bases-clearing double, 5-2.
The top half of the fifth began with a single to right field by Frabasilio and a walk by Lardo, his second of the game. Frabasilio was plated by a base hit through the left side by Johnson to make it a 6-2 ball game. Vranka added his third of the game two batters later when he cue-balled a bloop single into shallow left to score both runners, 8-2.
J.R. Leonardi (SR/Pittsburgh, Pa.) entered the game in relief of Jon Danielczyk (SR/Erie, Pa.) in the bottom of the fifth to make his 65th all-time appearance for Pitt (2010-present). Brandon Paul led off the inning with a single to left field an was nailed out at second base on a fielder's choice put in play by Jackson. Midkiff followed with a single up the middle to put two runners on and each Blue Hose base runner advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch. Leonardi then walked Martin to load the bases and Jay Lizanich wore a hit by pitch to plate one run, 8-3.
With one down and runners at each base, Tyler Weyenberg drove in Presbyterian's fourth run of the game with a groundball hit to Johnson at second base. Billy Motroni made it five runs for the Blue Hose when he poked a base knock to right field that brought across Martin, 8-5.
Presbyterian added a pair of runs in the home half of the sixth, beginning with a singles from Paul and Jackson. On Jackson's base hit to right field, Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.) tried to catch Paul advancing to second base but both he and Jackson advanced to second to third base on an errant throw. The Blue Hose then pulled themselves within a run when Midkiff recorded a two-RBI double to left center field, 8-7.
Eric Hess (JR/Erie, Pa.) pushed the Panthers' lead back to two when he homered to left, making it a 9-7 game.
The Presbyterian bats did not settle by the time the ninth inning rolled around. Martin slapped a 3-2 single past a diving Dylan Wolsonovich (SO/Ford City, Pa.) and Weyenberg registered a one-out, stand-up double to put runners at second and third for the Blue Hose. During Nate Chong's pinch-hit at-bat, Martin scored on a wild pitch to cut the deficit to one with a 9-8 score. Chong then smoked an RBI single to right field to knot the game at 9-9, ultimately leading the contest into extra innings.
Pitt's turn at the plate in the 11th started with a single through the right side by Hess and Johnson ripped a Hayes delivery to left field to put Panthers at first and second base. With two outs in the inning, Vranka battled through a 10-pitch at-bat and grounded a ball down the third base line that deflected off the bag for a timely RBI, 10-9.
Dian surrendered a 2-2 single to left to Martin to open the home half of 11th, but Pitt perfectly executed a 3-6-1 double play to quickly gain the advantage in the frame. Robert Moss, who entered the game as a pinch hitter in the two-hole, grounded out to Wolsonovich at short to end the game.
The Panthers return to action on Friday, March 14 when they begin a three-game conference series against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.
Panthers Sweep Doubleheader, Series with Virginia Tech
Panthers, Hokies to Play Doubleheader Saturday
Offensive Outburst Propels Panthers over Virginia Tech, 9-5
Pitt Returns Home, Hosts Virginia Tech
Ninth Inning Comeback Stopped Short at Kent State
Rathsack, Falk Collect First National Bank Weekly Honors