April 1, 2010
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The University of Pittsburgh baseball team dropped its first game since March 10, falling 9-8 to Rutgers University in the first of its three-game weekend series here today at Bainton Field.
David Chester became the second Panther to enjoy a multiple homerun game this season, hitting two-run homers in both the fourth and sixth innings. Corey Baker threw seven strong innings, giving up four runs on 12 hits while striking out three Scarlet Knight batters in the no decision. J.R. Leonardi was charged with the loss after giving up two unearned runs in a ninth inning in which Rutgers (13-10, 4-0 Big East) scored five runs to come-from-behind for the win.
Joe Leonard and Kevan Smith each recorded three hits on the day for Pitt (18-5, 3-1 Big East), helping the Panthers reach at least 10 hits in a game for the 21st time in 23 games this season.
John Schultz walked to start the Panther fourth and advanced to second on an Jerry Elsing wild pitch. Chester quickly put the Panthers on the board, jacking his third home run in the last four games over the left-field wall, giving Pitt the 2-0 advantage.
Jarred Jimenez’s sacrifice bunt allowed Jaren Matthews and Jayson Hernandez to advance to second and third after each singled earlier in the inning. Russ Hopkins’ single up the middle off Baker’s glove cleared the bases and knotted the game at 2-2 to round out the Rutgers fourth.
The Panthers tagged Elsing for three more runs in the fifth and sixth before Rutgers turned to their pen. Lopez singled to left center in the fifth to put the Panthers up 3-2 before Chester hit his second bomb of the day, a deep shot to left center, bringing the score to 5-2 after the Pitt half of the sixth.
Pitt added three in the top half of the seventh after RBI base hits from Leonard and Smith was followed by an RBI double from Whitmore, bringing the score to 8-2. Baker ran into a jam in the bottom half of the inning after Rutgers loaded the bases with no outs. Steve Nyiszrtor grounded into a 5-4-3 double play, scoring Boykin to cut the deficit to 8-3. Matthews’ RBI double down the left-field line one batter later scored Lang before Hernandez flied out to center to end the inning at 8-4.
The Scarlet Knights loaded the bases again in the bottom of the eighth with no outs, forcing Pitt to turn to the bullpen. Ray Black pitched his way out of the jam, freezing Boykin on a called third strike before getting Lang to foul out and Biserta to ground into a force play at second.
J.R. Leonardi entered in relief in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded and one out. Back-to-back singles by Hopkins and Ryan Kapp cut the Panther lead to one at 8-7. With runners on second and third and two outs, Lang’s grounder to short was fielded cleanly by Lopez, but the throw to first was off the mark, allowing both Kapp and Hopkins to score, completing the five-run comeback for RU.
Game two of the weekend series between the Panthers and Scarlet Knights is set for tomorrow, April 2 at Bainton Field. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.