March 18, 2014
PITTSBURGH - The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (8-10, 1-5 ACC) defeated Youngstown State (2-13, 0-0 Horizon), 12-1, Tuesday afternoon in the Panthers' home opener at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Sam Mersing (FR/McKees Rocks, Pa.) (1-0, 4.09 ERA) picked up his first career winning decision after tossing three shutout frames in relief of starting pitcher Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.). Nic Manuppelli (0-4, 17.47 ERA) was tagged with the loss for the Penguins, allowing four runs on two hits and five walks in just 0.2 innings pitched.
"It was good to be on the winning side today," head coach Joe Jordano said. "After coming off of a very frustrating weekend, I was very pleased with our energy. We played clean defensively, got some timely hits and our pitchers did a really solid job today. We needed this. This was just what the doctor ordered."
Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.) led off with a base on balls but was called out at second on a fielder's choice put in play by Dylan Wolsonovich (SO/Ford City, Pa.) to open the bottom of the first inning. After Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio) walked to put two runners on, Steven Shelinsky, Jr. (SR/Furlong, Pa.) homered to left center to put the Panthers up by three runs in the early going. Two batters later, Jordan Frabasilio (JR/Chandler, Ariz.) singled through the left side and advanced to second on a wild pitch during A.J. Lardo's (SO/Baltimore, Md.) at-bat. Frabasilio then took third on another wild pitch and scored on a passed ball, 4-0.
In the top of the third, Phil Lipari doubled deep to right center and moved to third on a groundball to the pitcher with one down in the frame. Josh White followed with an infield single to short that plated Youngstown State's first run of the game, 4-1.
Pitt responded with a five-spot during the home half of the third inning, beginning with a walk by Frabasilio. Matt Johnson (JR/Plano, Texas) ripped a two-base hit to left center field to score Frabasilio from first to push the Panthers' lead to four and Manny Pazos (FR/Miami, Fla.) doubled home Johnson to make it a 6-1 ball game. Turning over the lineup card, Vranka reached on an infield single and Wolsonovich recorded a base knock to center field to load the bases for Pitt. With two outs in the inning, Shelinsky, Jr. singled through the left side to push across his fourth and fifth RBIs of the game, scoring both Vranka and Wolsonovich on the play. Nick Yarnall (FR/Landisville, Pa.) then drove in Vazquez on a single through the right side, 9-1.
After blanking the Penguins for three consecutive innings, the Panthers piled onto their lead with three more runs in the sixth. Yarnall started off with a single slapped up the middle and Frabasilio made his way to first base on a hit by pitch with one down in the frame. Yarnall and Frabasilio advanced into scoring position following an Eric Hess (JR/Erie, Pa.) groundball out to first and each runner scored when Johnson nailed a two-bagger down the left field line, 11-1. Pazos then made it a 12-1 score with a single through the left side that scored Johnson from second base.
T.J. Zeuch (FR/Mason, Ohio) entered the game in relief of Mersing in the top of the seventh to make his first career appearance out of the bullpen. Zeuch held the Penguins scoreless through two frames, striking out three batters while allowing only two base hits. In the top of the ninth, Adam Dian (JR/Gibsonia, Pa.) closed the door with a perfect frame to secure Pitt's 12-1 victory.
The Panthers return to action Wednesday afternoon at 4:15 p.m. when they host Akron in a non-conference midweek match-up.
The Panthers improved to 56-20 (.737 winning percentage) overall and 29-9 (.763 winning percentage) vs. non-conference opponents at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex with today's win ... Pitt is now a perfect 16-0 (1.000 winning percentage) at Charles L. Cost Field when scoring 10 or more runs in a game ... The Panthers' 12-1 victory over Youngstown State was its largest margin of victory (+11) of the 2014 season ... Pitt pushed its record to 29-6-1 (.819 winning percentage) all-time against the Penguins ... The Panthers now own an .880 winning percentage (22-3) against Youngstown State under Jordano (since 1998), his best mark against any opponent that he's faced more than 20 times in his career ... Pitt has scored at least 10 runs in its last four games against the Penguins, including at least nine runs in six of its past seven meetings with Youngstown State ... The Panthers are 7-0 all-time against the Penguins at Charles L. Cost Field ... Shelinsky, Jr.'s three-run home run in the top of the first inning was his seventh long ball at home in his career, one shy of the program record ... Shelinsky, Jr.'s home run also marked the second consecutive season that Pitt has recorded a home run in its home opener ... The Panthers batted around twice in the same game for the first time since doing so against St. John's on May 22, 2013 during the Big East Tournament.