March 16, 2012
PITTSBURGH--Senior left-handed pitcher Matt Iannazzo surpassed Corey Baker on Pitt's all-time wins list in a 4-2 victory over Hartford (1-12) on Friday at the Petersen Sports Complex. Iannazzo excelled on the mound, putting together a fitting performance for the personal accomplishment that included eight innings of work, two earned runs, seven strikeouts, and just one walk allowed. He is now 4-0 on the season with a 3.74 earned run average, as the Panthers improved to 8-7 after winning their first home game of the season.
Hartford's starting pitcher, Sean Newcomb, had difficulty finding the plate throughout most of the day's matchup. The Panthers immediately took advantage of the control issues in the bottom of the first inning when Stephen Vranka and Anthony Defabio both drew walks to start off the first at-bat.
Vranka was caught at third during a double-steal while Defabio reached second base safely. A wild pitch allowed Defabio to advance to third, and clean-up hitter Rick Devereaux was quick to drive in his teammate on an RBI single to left field, giving him 20 runs batted in on the season.
In 5 2/3 innings of work, Newcomb gave up three hits and walked six batters. Two of the three hits surrendered to the Panthers came in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Ronald Sucre hit a one-out single up the middle and advanced to second on a Michael Douglas groundball. Sucre was driven in by Derik Wilson on a single to left field, making the score 2-1.
Following a base on balls granted to Evan Oswald, Vranka lined a ball to deep right field for a base hit. A fielding error permitted two runs to score on the play, as Wilson and Oswald crossed the plate to make it a 4-1 game.
Iannazzo entered the ninth inning in the hopes of collecting his first complete game of the season, but back-to-back doubles by the Hawks led head coach Joe Jordano to call upon the bullpen for freshman closer Tanner Wilt. Wilt dominated in the ninth with a one-out strikeout and a groundball to second base, lowering his ERA to 2.70 while recording his fourth save of the season.
Winning the first home game was important for Pitt, especially in the circumstances that moved Iannazzo to the top of the list for most wins ever by a Panther pitcher. Jordano was thrilled for the senior southpaw, and hopes that the same success continues for Iannazzo and the rest of the team throughout the many games left in the 2012 season.
"Playing at home is a different feel, and our players love playing here," said Jordano, reflecting on the positive notes of the day. "We had a great crowd this afternoon and it was a beautiful day to play baseball. Matt Iannazzo did a fantastic job on the mound and became the school's all-time leader in wins. I couldn't be happier for him. Not only is he a great player, but he is a great person."
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Ethan Mildren is scheduled to pitch Saturday afternoon against the Hartford Hawks. Mildren is 1-0 this season with a 5.49 ERA and 17 strikeouts. The game's first pitch will be at 3 p.m.