March 31, 2009
PITTSBURGH — Behind home runs from Chris Sedon, Frank Mercurio, Morgan Kielty and Manoli Pahoulis, the University of Pittsburgh baseball team won its third straight game and 11th in the past 13, pounding out 16 hits and 17 runs to down the Akron Zips for the third time this season, 17-5, here at Trees Field.
Josh Smith (West Lawn, Pa.-Wilson West Lawn) (2-0) picked up his second win of the year, scattering five hits and striking out a game-high four batters over six innings of work in relief. Eleven different Panthers recorded at least one hit and eight drove in at least one run on the day, helping Pitt (16-7, 4-2 Big East) reach double-digit scoring for the third straight game and 10th time this season.
Akron (5-21, 2-4 Mid-American Conference) went up 3-0 after the top half of the first, taking advantage of two Hugh Henry (Mount Vernon, N.Y.-Mount Vernon) walks and wild pitches. Jake Plata doubled to right center to drive in two and scored on batter later as Kyle Hallet singled up the middle.
Sedon (Plains, Pa.-Lackawanna CC) started the Panther rally in the bottom of the first, sending a Scott Foster pitch over the left-field wall for his team-leading ninth home run of the season and third against the Zips. Sedon hit a pair of homers in Pitt’s 14-13 come-from-behind victory over Akron on March 24th, including a second inning grand slam.
Danny Lopez (Queens, N.Y.-Monsignor McClancy) and Nathan Hood (Cleburne, Texas-North Texas Central) each singled and scored on a Mercurio double to left field, knotting the game at 3-3 after one.
After a Matt Roberts solo shot in the third put Akron up 4-3, Mercurio belted his fourth home run of the season, putting the Panthers on top for good at 5-4.
Pitt exploded for seven runs on six hits in the sixth, taking a commanding 12-4 lead. Three straight singles from Phil Konieczny (Phoenix, Ariz.-Mountain Pointe), Kevan Smith (Cranberry Township, Pa.-Seneca Valley) and Chris Tonte (Pittston, Pa.-Lackawanna CC) started offensive onslaught. An intentional walk to Sedon was followed by singles from John Schultz (West Lawn, Pa-Wilson West Lawn) and Lopez, bringing the tally to 9-4. Kielty’s second home run in as many games, a monster shot to left center, increased the lead to eight at 12-4.
John Turk’s pinch-hit home run in the Akron seventh made it 12-5, but it was too little too late as the Panthers tacked on two in the bottom half of the inning and three more in the eighth, closing the books on the Zips at 17-5.
The Panthers will be in action again tomorrow, April 1st, traveling to cross-town rival Duquesne University. Tomorrow’s game will mark the 80th meeting between the two teams with Pitt holding a 57-21-1 series lead. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at Duquesne Field.