March 22, 2014
PITTSBURGH - The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (12-10, 4-5 ACC) came back to top Duke (14-11, 4-5 ACC), 8-5, after falling behind by three runs in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex in Pittsburgh, Pa.
The Panthers took all three games from the Blue Devils in the first ever ACC series hosted by Pitt, and are a perfect 5-0 in home contests to start the year for the first time since 2012. It is the third consecutive conference home-opening series sweep. The win extends Pitt’s streak to 15 consecutive conference victories on its home field.
Head Coach Joe Jordano said: “That was a great week for us. We were 5-0 this week and really played well after coming off of a disappointing weekend last weekend. This team really battled back and played well the entire week. We just beat a very good baseball team, and they’re going to be right there at the end. We’re very pleased with where we’re at. We’ll get back to work on Monday and prepare for next week.”
T.J. Zeuch (FR/Mason, Ohio) (1-1, 0.93 ERA) received credit for the win after allowing only one hit and one walk in 1.1 innings of relief of starter Matt Wotherspoon (SR/Mountain Top, Pa.). Nick Hendrix took the loss after surrendering two hits and one walk in only 0.1 inning of relief of starter Michael Matuella. A combined 11 hurlers were used by both teams in the game.
The Blue Devils found offensive success early-on. In the top of the first inning, a hit and two walks loaded the bases for Ryan Deitrich. Deitrich knocked in a run with an RBI-single, but Wotherspoon rallied to limit the damage. In the second, a Kenny Koplove single was followed by a homer to right field from Mark Lumpa to put Duke further ahead, 3-0.
Duke starter Michael Matuella’s day was brief but dominant. He exited the game after only two innings, striking out five of the six Panthers he faced. Dillon Haviland came on in relief, and the Pitt bats seized the opportunity to cut into the Blue Devil lead. Jordan Frabasilio (JR/Chandler, Ariz.) walked to start the Panther third, and Matt Johnson (JR/Plano, Tex.) singled to put runners on first and second. Dylan Wolsonovich (SO/Ford City, Pa.) cashed in with two outs, serving an RBI-single into right field to plate Frabasilio for Pitt’s first run. With runners still on first and second, Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio) stepped up to the dish and flared a single into right field as well, scoring Johnson to cut the Duke lead to 3-2.
Duke answered in the following half-inning. Reed Anthes drew a walk and was advanced to second on Koplove’s sacrifice bunt. Mark Lumpa and Matt Berezo loaded the bases with back-to-back singles, and a Panther error allowed Anthes to score, keeping the Blue Devils out in front, 4-2.
Pitt mounted a major offensive effort in the bottom of the fifth, scoring five runs to take the lead. Frabasilio and Johnson each reached base for the second time in the game, this time on back-to-back singles. Manny Pazos (FR/Miami, Fla.) followed them by drawing a base-on-balls to load the bases for Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.), who delivered a lined shot into left field for an RBI-single. With the bases still loaded, Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio) flipped his bat at a down and away 2-2 pitch to loop it into left for his second RBI-single of the day and the second Panther run of the inning.
Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.) slapped a chopper to first, where Chris Marconcini managed to knock it down and throw to second for the force while yielding another Pitt run. With two outs, Steven Shelinsky, Jr. (SR/Furlong, Pa.) sent a sharp groundball to Duke third baseman Matt Berezo, who skipped in the throw to first for an error and another Panther run. The final blow of the inning came from Eric Hess’ (JR/Erie, Pa.) bat, driving a winding liner back up the middle of the infield to plate the fifth run of the inning as the Panthers batted around to give Pitt the lead, 7-4.
Lumpa was brought around to score for Duke in the top of the sixth. Three consecutive singles and a hit batsman brought him in, but John Danielczyk made his tenth appearance of the season and retired three straight Blue Devils to get out of the bases loaded jam and maintain the Pitt lead, 7-5. He would continue on through the seventh, allowing only two hits while striking out three in his second effective outing of the series.
The Panthers would get that run back in the bottom of the same inning. Pazos singled to start the Pitt turn, moved to second ahead of Vranka’s base knock, then took third and scored on a wild pitch and passed ball, respectively. While the Panthers continued to threaten, they were unable to push any more runs across, leaving the lead where it would stand for the remainder of the game, 8-5.
Luke Curtis (JR/Philipsburg, Pa.) came on to pitch the ninth inning, allowing no runs, one hit, and one walk while earning his first career save.
The Panthers will return to action on Tuesday, March 25 when they travel to meet long-time rival West Virginia at 3 p.m. in Blacksburg, Va.