March 31, 2012
CINCINNATI – Ethan Mildren pitched a complete-game shutout to lead Pitt to a 6-0 win over Cincinnati on Saturday at Marge Schott Stadium. The Panthers improve to 12-12 overall and 1-4 in the BIG EAST with the win.
“We have high expectations for our team and for our program. We’re not accustomed to being swept,” said Pitt head coach Joe Jordano. “So it was very important for us to get that first conference win. We’ll get our feet underneath us and I think this team understands what we need to do. We’re sticking to the plan, they understand it, and we just have to continue to execute.”
Mildren was dominant in the Panthers’ first shutout of the season, giving up just four hits and one walk while striking out seven. He only allowed two runners to reach scoring position in the entire game.
Just a day after getting shut out despite tallying nine hits, Pitt needed just three batters to score its first run on Saturday. Stephen Vranka led off the game with a double, advanced to third on a groundout by Anthony Defabio and scored on a RBI single up the middle by Rick Devereaux.
As it turned out, that would be the only run Mildren would need. The sophomore right-hander has now pitched 16-straight scoreless innings and has gone the distance in two straight starts. In his last outing before the win over the Bearcats, he gave up three runs in the first inning at Notre Dame, but held them scoreless in the next seven innings.
“It felt good to get that first Big East win for the team,” Mildren said. “We need to come back tomorrow, win the series and just keep going from there.”
Six different Panthers scored in the game, including three with insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning. Ronald Sucre led off the final inning with a walk and would later score on a throwing error. Later in the inning, with runners on first and second and two outs, Cincinnati chose to intentionally walk cleanup hitter Casey Roche to get to Derik Wilson, who made them pay with a two-run single right back at the pitcher and through the middle of the infield.
Mildren came back out for the bottom of the ninth and notched the first out with a flyball to left field by the Bearcats’ top hitter, Justin Glass. He gave up a single to the following batter, but ended the game with a 4-6-3 double play.
“Obviously Ethan pitched spectacular today. He had all his pitches working for him,” Jordano said. “We played great defense behind him and got some clutch hits. I was very pleased. We’ve been so close so many times and I hope this will propel us to some big wins in the next few weeks.”
Mildren improved to 3-1 on the season and lowered his ERA to 3.65, lowest among Pitt’s starting pitchers. He, along with Matt Iannazzo (3.77) give the Panthers two starters with sub-4.00 ERAs.
In addition to nine hits, Pitt had eight walks and one hit-by-pitch in the game. Devereaux had two hits and drove in two runs. Boo Vazquez had one of the Panthers’ five RBIs, plating Casey Roche with a single in the sixth inning.
Pitt will look to take the series with Cincinnati when the two teams take the field on Sunday at 1 p.m. Matt Wotherspoon, who leads the team with 44 strikeouts, will be the starter for the Panthers.
NOTES - The Panthers had a couple of streaks end. Anthony DeFabio’s stretch of 23-straight games with at least one hit or one walk came to a halt, although he did get hit by a pitch…Sam Parente’s six-game streak ended, but he only finished with two at-bats thanks to two sacrifice bunts, the first of which led to Pitt’s third run of the game…With two RBIs, Devereaux remains the Big East leader with 33 this season… The error in the first game of the series with Cincinnati ended a streak of six straight games without a defensive miscue by the Panthers…Mildren’s complete game was the third this season by a Pitt pitcher. In addition to his two, Wotherspoon went the distance in a win over Michigan State.