March 15, 2014
BLACKSBURG, Va. - The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (7-9, 1-4 ACC) fell to Virginia Tech (8-8-1, 2-3 ACC), 11-10, in a walk-off loss at English Field in Blacksburg, Va.
Luke Scherzer picked up the win for the Hokies after tossing two shutout frames out of the bullpen. Hobie Harris (JR/McKinney, Texas) (2-3, 3.15 ERA) was tagged with his third loss of the season after allowing one run on three walks and two hits in 0.1 innings pitched.
Joseph Harvey (JR/Audobon, Pa.) mowed down Saige Jenco looking at strike three to open the bottom of the first inning but served up a two-bagger to the left field wall hit by Alex Perez in the next at-bat. With one down and a runner on second, Harvey managed to get Mark Zagunis to pop out to first base while finishing with a strikeout against a swinging Brendon Hayden to escape the frame.
During the home half of the second, Virginia Tech pressed Harvey into a similar situation that he faced in the first. Kyle Wernicki stroked a one-out double down the left field line to start the inning but once again Harvey was able to leave a runner stranded in scoring position, forcing a pair of groundball outs put in play by Tom Stoffel and Ricky Surum to end the inning.
Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.) led off the top of the third with a one-out, stand-up triple off the center field wall and Dylan Wolsonovich (SO/Ford City, Pa.) scored him on a groundout to second base, 1-0. Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.) followed with a base on balls and Steven Shelinsky, Jr. (SR/Furlong, Pa.) slapped a ball back up the middle to put two runners on for Pitt. Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio) then connected with a Sean Keselica offering to produce a towering three-run dinger over the right field fence to put the Panthers on top by a 4-0 score.
In the bottom of fourth, Zagunis grounded a hard-hit ball to Wolsonovich at short and was able to reach first on an infield single with nobody out in the frame. Hayden then added a two-run home run to deep right center field to cut the Hokies' deficit in half, 4-2.
Pitt responded to Virginia Tech's pair of runs in the fourth with six of its own during its half of the fifth. Roche started off the at-bat with a one-out single to shortstop and scored from first to home on a Shelinsky, Jr. double skipped down along the third base line, 5-2. Vazquez then tallied his fourth RBI of the game when he singled up the middle to score Shelinsky, Jr., making it a 6-2 ball game in the Panthers' favor. A.J. Lardo (SO/Baltimore, Md.) loaded the bases when he reached on an error by the third baseman and Manny Pazos (FR/Miami, Fla.) cleared the bags with a double off the wall in center, 9-2. Vranka then sliced his second stand-up triple of the game to plate Pazos, 10-2.
Jenco and Perez manufactured back-to-back base knocks off of reliever Renan Rodriguez (SO/Miami, Fla.) to lead off the bottom of the fifth inning, putting runners at first and second for Zagunis. The Hokies became the beneficiaries of a three-run home run to left center field by Zagunis, who quickly cut the Panthers' lead to five runs, 10-5. Sam Mersing (FR/McKees Rocks, Pa.) came out of the bullpen to relieve Rodriguez after the round-tripper. Mersing immediately gave up a pair of hits and a hit by pitch to load the bases, in addition to a single through the left side by Stoffel that scored two runs, 10-7. Pitt fought its way out of the inning when Jon Danielczyk (SR/Erie, Pa.) recorded three outs to put an end to Virginia Tech's five-run at-bat.
The home half of the seventh featured continued persistence from the Hokies at the plate. After Surum roped a single to right field, Jenco grounded to Jordan Frabasilio (JR/Chandler, Ariz.) at third base, who was unable to make a diving stop on the ball put in play. Perez followed with an RBI single up the middle to make it a 10-8 contest and Zagunis reached on an infield error with two outs to put runners at each base for Virginia Tech. Danielczyk then hit Hayden with a pitch to force home a run, 10-9. The Hokies tied the game when Andrew Belfiglio (SO/Newtown Square, Pa.) balked home Perez, 10-10.
The Panthers sparked a two-out rally in the top of the eighth beginning with an infield single by Roche, who moved into scoring position on a throwing error. Shelinsky, Jr. was hit by a pitch to put two runners on for Pitt and Vazquez beat out an infield hit to load the bases. Nick Yarnall (FR/Landisville, Pa.) then came on to pinch-hit for Frabasilio but grounded into a fielder's choice to put an end to the inning.
Harris issued a leadoff walk to Perez to begin the home half of the ninth and Zagunis singled to right center to put runners at first and third with nobody out. Harris then intentionally walked Hayden to set up a force at any base, but Keselica drove home with walk-off run with a single to center field, 11-10.
The Panthers return to action at approximately 6:15 p.m. for the conference series finale against Virginia Tech.
For more information on pitt baseball, follow the media relations Twitter account at @PittBaseballACC and the coaching staff at @PITTBASEBALL.