March 25, 2014
MORGANTOWN, W. Va. – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (12-11, 4-5 ACC) fell to West Virginia (13-8, 0-0 Big 12), 6-3, Tuesday afternoon at Hawley Field in Morgantown, W. Va.
Zach Bargeron earned the winning decision for the Mountaineers after limiting the Panthers to just one run on four hits in five innings of work. T.J. Zeuch (FR/Mason, Ohio) was tagged with the loss, allowing three runs in four frames pitched. Michael Bennett picked up the save with a four-inning performance out of the bullpen.
"Today was a tough game in tough conditions," head coach Joe Jordano said. "We fought back to make it a 4-3 game going into the bottom of the eighth but a couple of well-placed balls enabled West Virginia to score twice to make it much tougher for us going into the ninth. Give credit to West Virginia for scoring five of its six runs with two outs. They are a solid team. We must move on and prepare for a tough Georgia Tech team that is playing very well. It's going to be another challenging and exciting weekend for us."
The game-opening stanza began with a double off the left center field wall by Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.). Out of the two-hole, Dylan Wolsonovich (SO/Ford City, Pa.) bunted a Bargeron offering back to the mound in order to move Vranka to third base. Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio) then plated Vranka on a sacrifice fly to right field to give Pitt a 1-0 advantage.
West Virginia quickly responded in the bottom of the first inning with Taylor Munden singling through the left side to lead off the Mountaineers’ at-bat. After Bobby Boyd advanced the lone base runner into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt, Billy Fleming reached on an infield error that allowed Munden to come across home plate, making it a 1-1 ball game.
Munden drew a base on balls and Boyd singled to right field to lead off the home half of the third. Zeuch managed to strike out Fleming while getting Ryan McBroom to fly out to right field, but following a Jacob Rice walk, Shaun Wood recorded a two-out base knock through the right side to put West Virginia up by two runs, 3-1.
With two down in the sixth, Justin Fox connected with a 3-2 delivery for a single through the right side of the infield. Adam Dian (JR/Gibsonia, Pa.) hit Max Nogay with a pitch in the next at-bat to put two runners on base for the Mountaineers. Munden then capped off the two-out rally with an RBI single to left center, extending West Virginia’s lead to three at a 4-1 score.
Luke Curtis (JR/Philipsburg, Pa.) entered the game in relief of Dian in the bottom of the seventh, issuing a walk to Fleming and surrendering a single to McBroom to open the frame. Rice bunted both runners into scoring position, but Curtis punched out Wood on strikes and forced Michael Constantini into a groundball out to third to escape the inning unscathed.
Vazquez walked against Bennett with two outs during the Panthers’ at-bat in the eighth. Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.) then launched a two-run home run over the left field fence to cut Pitt’s deficit down to just one run, 4-3.
Jon Danielczyk (SR/Erie, Pa.) was called out of the bullpen to replace J.R. Leonardi (SR/Pittsburgh, Pa.) after Jackson Cramer drew a one-out walk. Cody Semler, who entered the game as a pinch runner for Cramer, made his way to second base when Munden grounded out to short and proceeded to score on a single through the right side by Boyd, 5-3. Fleming then roped a single down the right field line to bring across Boyd, giving the Mountaineers the upper hand at 6-3.
Bennett secured West Virginia’s victory with a one-two-three inning in the ninth, striking out Eric Hess (JR/Erie, Pa.) on four pitches and getting Jordan Frabasilio (JR/Chandler, Ariz.) and Matt Johnson (JR/Plano, Texas) to hit into consecutive groundball outs.
The Panthers return to action on March 28-30 this weekend when they host No. 23 Georgia Tech at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex in Pittsburgh, Pa.