March 22, 2013
Queens, N.Y. - The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (13-6, 1-0 Big East) opened its 2013 Big East season with a 12-9 victory over St. John's (7-12, 0-1 Big East) this afternoon at Jack Kaiser Stadium.
Ethan Mildren (JR/Hopwood, Pa.) (4-1) registered the win after pitching six innings allowing four runs while striking out three. Joe Harvey (SO, Audobon, Pa.) earned his first save of the season for Pitt, while Ryan McCormick (2-3) took the loss.
Pitt's offense saw four players tally multiple RBIs on the day led by Boo Vazquez (SO/Youngstown, Ohio) who batted in a pair while going a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate.
St. John's got on the board first with two in the first and one in the second to take a 3-0 lead but Pitt erupted for four runs in the top of the fourth inning to take the lead. Vazquez led off the inning with a single to the second baseman. Steven Shelinsky Jr. (JR/Yardley, Pa.) followed with a walk to put runners on first and second with no outs. Two batters later, Sam Parente (SR/Pittston, Pa.) roped a single into center field to score Vazquez and give Pitt its first run of the day. Following another Panther out, Stephen Vranka (JR/Monroeville, PA.) came up with a clutch two out, two RBI double down the left field line to score Parente and Shelinksy. Evan Oswald (SR/Butler, Pa.) came to the plate and ripped his own double down the line to score Vranka and give Pitt a 4-3 lead.
In the top of the fifth, Pitt tacked on another run when Vazquez led off the inning with a bomb to right center field. The Red Storm responded with a pair of their own in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at 5-5.
After the teams exchanged scoreless halves in the sixth, the Panthers added three runs in the top of the seventh to regain the lead. Casey Roche (JR/Downingtown, Pa.) got Pitt on the base path with one out when he coaxed a walk. A failed pickoff attempt moved Roche to second and led to St. John's intentionally walking Vazquez, who was three-for-three at that point in the game. The move did not pay off for the Johnnies as Shelinsky crushed a three run home run to right field giving Pitt an 8-5 lead.
The Red Storm added a run of their own in the bottom of the seventh but Pitt again added to their lead in the top of the eighth. Dylan Wolsonovich (FR/Ford City, Pa.) started off the inning by reaching on an error and was moved to second when Vranka was hit by a pitch. The Panthers loaded the bases when Oswald reached on yet another St. John's error. Roche ripped a one-out single into left center for a pair of RBIs. Oswald then came home when he alertly scored on a wild pitch. Vazquez then continued his hot day with a single through the right side of the infield for an RBI that gave Pitt a 12-6 lead.
From there, the Pitt bullpen combo of Jon Danielczyk (JR/Erie, Pa.) and Harvey were able to close the door on Panthers' 12-9 victory.
Pitt and St. John's will resume their series tomorrow, Saturday, Mach 23, when they play at 1 p.m. Matt Wotherspoon (JR/Mountain Top, Pa.) will take the mound for the Panthers while Sean Hagan toes the rubber for the Red Storm. The contest will be broadcast live on ESPN3.