March 22, 2014
PITTSBURGH - The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (11-10, 3-5 ACC) defeated Duke (14-11, 4-4 ACC), 5-1, in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Pitt has now surmounted the .500 mark for the first time since February 28, 2014 when it was 4-3. With the win, Pitt earned its 14th straight home conference victory and has won 20 of the last 23 games played at Charles L. Cost Field. The Panthers have started 4-0 at home for the third consecutive season.
Joseph Harvey (JR/Audobon, Pa.) (1-1, 3.81 ERA) picked up his first win of the season after allowing no earned runs, five hits, and three walks in 6.2 innings. Andrew Istler (3-3, 1.73 ERA) was tagged with the loss for the Blue Devils, allowing four runs on 10 hits and two walks in six innings pitched.
Duke got on the board in the top of the opening frame with Aaron Cohn reaching base on an error, then moving to third on a double to deep right centerfield by Mark Lumpka. A balk brought Cohn the final 90 feet, giving the Blue Devils the early 1-0 lead. Joseph Harvey quickly shook off the first-inning stiffness, chalking up three strikeouts to retire the side.
Pitt answered in its half of the first inning. Dylan Wolsonovich (SO/Ford City, Pa.) inside-outed a right field single and took second on Istler’s balk. Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio) followed by stinging a sharp groundball to shortstop Kenny Koplove’s right, rendering him unable to make the throw to first in time. With Panthers on the corners, Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.) notched his sixteenth RBI by sending a chopper through the left side of the infield, scoring Wolsonovich. The offensive procession would continue after Steven Shelinsky, Jr. (SR/Furlong, Pa.) drew a walk to load the bases. Eric Hess (JR/Erie, Pa.) and Jordan Frabasilio (JR/Chandler, Ariz.) added consecutive RBI-singles to put Pitt up, 3-1, as the Panthers batted around to open the contest at the dish.
After Harvey pitched a scoreless second, Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.) kick-started the offense by ripping a double deep down the left field line. Wolsonovich moved Vranka up to third on a beautiful sac bunt, and Vazquez’s fly ball to right field allowed him to hustle home to make the Pitt lead 4-1, adding to Vazquez’s team-leading RBI total with his 22nd batted in.
Harvey continued to be sharp during his time toeing the rubber, inducing one groundball after another to muffle the Duke bats as he hung zero after zero on the board. He retired six straight Blue Devils from the fourth to the sixth, and his eight strikeouts on the day marked a new career high, besting his previous of six against Hartford on March 18, 2012.
Duke looked poised to cut into the Panther lead in the eighth. Mike Rosenfeld singled to open the frame, and both he and Ryan Deitrich would receive a base resulting from a Pitt error, placing Duke runners at first and second. Matt Berezo looped a sinking flare into shallow right center and it appeared that at least one Blue Devil would score, but Casey Roche’s sliding grab robbed Berezo and preserved the 4-1 lead.
Pitt added a measure of insurance in the bottom of the eighth. Jordan Frabasilio singled and took second on a passed ball. He was advanced to second on Matt Johnson’s sac bunt, and Dylan Wolsonovich drove him in easily by adding his third hit of the day on a single to right. Frabasilio’s run was the game’s last, making the final score 5-1.
The Panthers will play the nightcap of the doubleheader against Duke with first pitch scheduled for 4:45 p.m. Matt Wotherspoon (2-3, 7.81 ERA) will take the mound for Pitt. He will be opposed by Duke’s Michael Matuella (0-0, 0.00 ERA).