March 15, 2014
BLACKSBURG, Va. - The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (7-10, 1-5 ACC) dropped the final game of its three-game series against Virginia Tech (9-8-1, 3-3 ACC), 11-7, Saturday night at English Field in Blacksburg, Va.
Phil Sciretta picked up the winning decision for the Hokies after allowing just one run on five hits in four innings of relief work. Matt Wotherspoon (SR/Mountain Top, Pa.) (2-3, 7.81 ERA) was tagged with his third loss of the season for the Panthers, giving up nine earned runs on 13 hits in the outing. Sean Kennedy was credited with the save.
“This was a very disappointing weekend,” head coach Joe Jordano said. “Offensively we’ve been swinging the bats well, but we really had a disappointing performance by our entire pitching staff. When you have leads in all three games, you have to close them out, and we did not do that. That can’t happen in this conference. Credit Virginia Tech for coming back in three consecutive ball games to beat us. We have to go back to the drawing board now to put ourselves in a position to build up some confidence again. It’s certainly going to be good to be at home after spending five weeks on the road. It’s been a grind, but we have to get back on track.”
With one down in the opening frame of the game, Dylan Wolsonovich (SO/Ford City, Pa.) hit a line-drive single to left field to put one runner on for Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio). Vazquez then stepped up to deliver his second home run of the day's doubleheader, a two-run shot to right center, providing Pitt a 2-0 advantage in the early going. After back-to-back singles poked through the right side by Nick Yarnall (FR/Landisville, Pa.) and Eric Hess (JR/Erie, Pa.), Matt Johnson (JR/Plano, Texas) batted in the third run of the inning on a base knock to left, 3-0.
Virginia Tech put itself on the board in the bottom of the second inning when Kyle Wernicki sent a solo home run over the left field wall on a two-out, 1-2 delivery to make it a 3-1 ball game. Wotherspoon punched out Tom Stoffel for the final out, marking his third strikeout of the frame.
In the top of the third, Vazquez worked a base on balls and advanced to second on a groundball out put in play by Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.). Yarnall then registered his second hit of the game when he produced an RBI ground rule double to right center to push the Panthers' lead to three, 4-1.
Ricky Surum led off the bottom of the third with a stand-up double to right center field for the Hokies. Ryan Tufts walked and Saige Jenco reached on a bunt single to then load the bases for Alex Perez, who went down on strikes for the first out of the inning. Mark Zagunis, however, poked a soft liner toward P.J. DeMeo (FR/Sewickley, pa.) at third for a base hit to make it a two-run game and Brendon Hayden cleared the bases with a three-RBI double down the right field line to give Virginia Tech a 5-4 advantage.
Kyle Wernicki knocked home Hayden with a single to the right side to push the Hokies' lead to two runs, 6-4. Tom Stoffel followed Wernicki's base hit with a single to put runners at first and third with two outs in the frame. When Stoffel made an attempt to steal second base, Wernicki made it safely across home plate with a swipe of his own, pushing the score to 7-4. Virginia Tech then added its seventh run of the inning when Stoffel scored on a Surum single, 8-4.
Tyler Albert (JR/Montoursville, Pa.) reached on an infield error to open Pitt's half of the fourth and Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.) tripled him home to cut the deficit to three runs, 8-5. Wolsonovich then made it an 8-6 contest when he singled home Vranka with an RBI knock through the right side.
During the Hokies' at-bat in the fourth, Tufts delivered a leadoff single and found his way to third base after advancing on consecutive groundball outs. Tufts then scored on a single to short by Zagunis to put Virginia Tech up by three runs, 9-6.
Vranka opened up the eighth with a double and took third base after tagging up on a Wolsonovich fly ball out to right field. Vazquez plated Vranka in the next at-bat on a groundout to first, 9-7.
Surum drew a base on balls off of Adam Dian (JR/Gibsonia, Pa.) to start the home half of the eighth and hit Jenco and Perez with pitches to load the bases with one out, resulting in a call to the bullpen for Luke Curtis (JR/Philipsburg, Pa.). Curtis managed to get Hayden to hit a pop fly to third but Jordan Frabasilio (JR/Chandler, Ariz.) dropped it, allowing two runs to score, 11-7.
Pitt allowed 10 or more runs in each contest of a three-game conference series sweep for the first time since March 25-26, 1995, when it dropped three in a row to Villanova on the road.
The Panthers return to action Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. when they take on Youngstown State in their home opener at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex in Pittsburgh, Pa.
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