March 21, 2014
PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (10-10, 2-5 ACC) defeated Duke (14-9, 4-3 ACC), 3-2, Friday afternoon in the Panthers’ first ever Atlantic Coast Conference game at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Rhys Aldenhoven (SR/Victoria, Australia) (2-1, 3.60 ERA) provided seven strong innings for Pitt, striking out five while allowing just two runs en route to his second winning decision of the season. Drew Van Orden (1-2, 4.28 ERA) was hooked with the loss for the Blue Devils after allowing three runs on six hits in 5.1 frames. Jon Danielczyk (SR/Erie, Pa.) (2-0, 3.50 ERA) also converted his first save of the year by producing 1.2 innings of no-hit baseball out of the bullpen.
“Duke is a good baseball team,” head coach Joe Jordano said. “They’re fundamentally sound and well coached. They pitched well and did everything between the lines that’s supposed to be done, but us getting a big hit with two outs ended up being the difference in the ball game. I thought Aldenhoven pitched extremely well today. He got himself out of a couple jams and did a super job. Danielczyk came in and did phenomenal work as well. It’s good to get the first one at home.”
Matt Johnson (JR/Plano, Texas) opened the home half of the third by reaching on infield error and advanced into scoring position after Manny Pazos (FR/Miami, Fla.) laid down a sacrifice bunt back to the mound. Johnson later made his way to third base by tagging up on a Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.) fly ball to the first baseman in foul territory. The Panthers plated their first run of the game when Johnson took home on a passed ball, allowing Pitt to grab hold of a 1-0 advantage in the early going.
After producing four consecutive shutout frames to start the ball game, Aldenhoven permitted his first pair of runs during Duke’s at-bat in the fifth. Matt Berezo led off the inning with a single to right field and Ryan Deitrich followed with a two-run home run over the left field wall to put the Blue Devils on top by a 2-1 score. With one down in the inning, Aldenhoven hit Andy Perez with a pitch and then Mark Lumpa reached on a fielder’s choice to put two runners on for Duke. Mike Rosenfeld then wore an Aldenhoven offering to load the bases, but Chris Marconcini was sat down on strikes to end the at-bat.
In the bottom of the fifth inning, Jordan Frabasilio (JR/Chandler, Ariz.) produced a leadoff single to shortstop and Johnson added a base knock to right center to put two runners on for the Panthers. Pazos then bunted Frabasilio and Johnson into scoring position and Frabasilio scored on a wild pitch to tie the game at two runs apiece. After Dylan Wolsonovich (SO/Ford City, Pa.) drew a base on balls to place runners on the corners, Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio) grounded into an inning-ending fielder’s choice to second base, leaving the contest knotted at 2-2.
Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.) walked on five pitches to start off Pitt’s half of the sixth. After Eric Hess (JR/Erie, Pa.) lofted a one-out single to shallow left field to put the go-ahead run in scoring position, Frabasilio ripped a single to right center to plate Roche to reclaim the lead, 3-2. The Blue Devils then turned to southpaw Nick Hendrix out of the bullpen, who managed to induce back-to-back fly ball outs to limit any further damage.
The Panthers opted for Sam Mersing (FR/McKees Rocks, Pa.) in the eighth to face the heart of Duke’s lineup. Marconcini reached on a throwing error by Mersing on an infield groundball and Berezo notched a one-out knock to put the tying run at second base. Danielczyk then came on in relief of Mersing, striking out Deitrich and Cristian Perez to protect the Panthers’ one-run favor, 3-2.
Pitt returns to action tomorrow afternoon at 1 p.m. when it takes on Duke in a series-closing doubleheader. Joseph Harvey (JR/Audobon, Pa.) and Matt Wotherspoon (SR/Mountain Top, Pa.) are slated to start for the Panthers in games one and two, respectively.