March 27, 2013
State College, Pa. - The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (16-6) scored a pair of runs in the top of the ninth to help overcome an early 5-0 deficit and defeat in-state rival Penn State (5-15), 10-8, this afternoon at Medlar Field.
"That was a solid win for us," said head coach Joe Jordano. "Obviously it was a cold day and then we fell behind 5-0 in the first inning but I really liked the way that we battled hard, had some quality at bats and fought back."
With two outs in the top of the ninth, Pitt took advantage of an error by Penn State's first baseman and rallied to score a pair of runs to secure the win in a game it had trailed 5-0 early and 8-7 in the seventh inning.
J.R. Leonardi (JR/Pittsburgh, Pa.) (2-2) picked up the win after pitching 3.2 scoreless innings in relief and striking out four. David Walking (1-1) took the loss for Penn State.
"I was very proud of Luke Curtis (SO/Phillipsburg, Pa.) who came in and righted the ship for us and then J.R. who did a great job for us to end the game," Jordano said. "Offensively, Eric Hess (SO/Erie, Pa.) came up big for us in the ninth and that was the difference in the ball game."
Penn State struck first in the bottom of the first inning for five unearned runs. Pitt responded with a run of its own in the top of the second. Elvin Soto (SO/New York, N.Y.) got the Panthers started with a one-out double into the gap in left center. Soto moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly hit by Stephen Vranka (JR/Monroeville, Pa.).
The Panthers added another run in the top of the third inning when Casey Roche (JR/Downingtown, Pa.) scored on a fielder's choice from Boo Vazquez (SO/Youngstown, Ohio). Roche led off the inning with a single deep in the hole at short and advanced to second on a passed ball. Steven Shelinsky Jr. (JR/Yardley, Pa.) came to the plate and smacked a ball that floated over the right fielders' head for a double which moved Roche to third. Vazquez's fielder's choice then brought Roche home and cut the PSU lead to 5-2.
PSU scored again in the bottom of the fourth to push its lead to 6-2 before the Panthers rallied for a five run frame in the top of the sixth inning. Sam Parente (SR/Pittston, Pa.) led off the inning getting hit by a pitch. Soto followed by drawing a four pitch walk to put runners on first and second with no one out. Vranka brought Parente home and chased Jack Anderson from the game with a single up the middle after squaring to bunt on his first two pitches and drawing the infield in.
With Geoff Bolyston in the game pitching, Bennette Hill (FR/Olive Branch, Miss.) reached on an error by the second baseman to score Soto. Oswald then got hit to load the bases with no outs. Eric Hess (SO/Erie, Pa.) got hit by a pitch to bring home another run followed by Roche bringing home the tying run with a sac fly into left field chasing Bolyston.
New pitcher Ian Parvin started his day with a pair of wild pitches. On the second wild pitch, Oswald alertly scored, sliding in and beating the catcher's throw to the plate, to give Pitt its first lead of the game.
The Nittany Lions were able to connect for a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth to retake the lead, 8-7.
In the top of the seventh, the Panthers were again able to tie the game. Parente reached on an error and was moved over to third when Soto singled to right. Hill brought Parente home with a sac fly into left.
In the bottom of the frame, Penn State threatened with runners on the corners with two outs but Leonardi alertly picked off Penn State's Steve Snyder on a 1-6-3 play to end the threat.
Pitt retook the lead in the top of the ninth inning after a two out rally. With two outs Hill reached on an error by the Nittany Lion first baseman. Jordano then called to his bench to bring A.J. Lardo (FR/Baltimore, Md.) in to pinch run. After an Oswald walk, Hess ripped a 0-1 pitch up the middle to plate Lardo and give the Panthers the lead once again. Roche delivered another clutch pinch hit single up to middle to tack on an insurance run.
Leonardi returned to the bump in the bottom of the ninth and struck out the side for his second victory of the season.
Pitt will return to action on Friday, March 29, when it hosts Towson in a double header at Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex beginning at 1 p.m.