March 19, 2014
PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (9-10, 1-5 ACC) defeated Akron (7-9, 0-0 MAC), 11-8, Wednesday evening at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Jon Danielczyk (SR/Erie, Pa.) (2-0, 3.86 ERA) received the winning decision after tossing 2.2 innings in relief of starting pitcher Renan Rodriguez (SO/Miami, Fla.). Evan Jensen was tagged with the loss for the Zips, allowing five runs on five hits in just 0.2 innings pitched.
After a quiet first inning, Pitt capitalized on a leadoff walk drawn by Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.) in the bottom of the second inning to plate its first run. Steven Shelinsky, Jr. (SR/Furlong, Pa.) followed up Roche’s base on balls by driving a single to the right center field gap, advancing Roche to third. Coming through for the Panthers then was Eric Hess (JR/Erie, Pa.), who delivered an RBI knock on an 0-2 offering that gave Pitt a 1-0 lead.
Akron answered with a run of its own in the third. Matt Larroca reached on a walk to open the frame and was followed by a groundball single up the middle by James Meeker. James Sheltrown moved each runner up a station with a sacrifice bunt and Kris Simonton was credited with an RBI on a soft groundball out to second. Rodriguez induced a pop fly over the right side of the infield to get out of the inning and to leave the score tied, 1-1.
Boo Vazquez’s (JR/Youngstown, Ohio) hot bat supplied Pitt with more offense in the bottom of the third, jolting his third home run in the last four games. Roche and Shelinsky, Jr. added singles of their own, but the Panthers were unable to ignite a two-out rally after taking a 2-1 advantage.
Pitt turned to Luke Curtis (JR/Philipsburg, Pa.) out of the bullpen in the top of the fourth. The Zips then matched the Panthers on offense yet again, scoring three runs in the inning. Brady Stewart reached on an infield error to start things off. After Curtis struck out Brian Lees, Akron strung together three consecutive two-out hits to push a trio of runs across, 4-2.
Pitt cut the deficit to one run in its half of the fourth. Matt Johnson (JR/Plano, Texas) took first base after being hit by a pitch and wasted no time swiping second for his fourth stolen base of the season. Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.) laced a line drive back up the middle past Sheltrown’s outstretched glove to plate Johnson from second and chipping away at Akron’s lead, 4-3.
In the top of the sixth, Akron scored a run on a Meeker single to short. The Zips then proceeded to load the bases, threatening to blow their 5-3 lead wide open, but Danielczyk entered the game out of the bullpen to get out of the jam. He struck out Simonton to end the Zips at-bat.
The Panthers clawed back to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. Johnson walked and stolen second base to jumpstart the offense and was followed by a one-out base on balls by Vranka. Afterward, Wolsonovich served a line drive single to right to score Johnson from third. Vranka scored on a fielder’s choice to second base by Roche to draw the score even, 5-5.
After Danielczyk cruised through the heart of Akron’s lineup with a perfect seventh, Pitt hung another run on the board to take a 6-5 lead. Hess was hit by a pitch and Frabasilio quickly moved him to second on a sacrifice bunt. Johnson delivered the key blow, smoking an RBI base knock to left center field that scored Hess.
The Panthers poured it on during the home half of the eighth. Wolsonovich singled and took third on a fielding error in left and Vazquez added another single to drive him in. Casey Roche then hammered an RBI triple into deep left center field and Shelinsky doubled to plate Roche thereafter. Frabasilio capped off the outburst with a monster home run to left, launching Pitt ahead for good, 11-5.
The Zips managed to plate an additional three runs in the top of the ninth to make it an 11-8 ball game.
The Panthers return to action Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. when they host Duke for a three-game series at Charles L. Cost Field.