April 2, 2013
Akron, Ohio - Five different players tallied RBIs as the University of Pittsburgh baseball team (20-6) defeated Akron (4-21), 11-7, this afternoon at Canal Park.
"That was an interesting ball game," said head coach Joe Jordano. "I thought we had a lot of opportunities, especially early on, that we didn't take advantage of. You have to give credit to Akron, they kept fighting back and made a run."
Jimmy Devine (SR/Pittsburgh, Pa.) (1-0) earned his first win as a Panther after pitching 1.2 innings with three strikeouts. Jon Pusateri (1-5) took the loss for the Zips.
Pitt got on the board early putting a three spot on the board in the top of the first inning. Stephen Vranka (JR/Monroeville, Pa.) started out the inning by legging out a single to the short stop and moved to second on a throwing error by the Zips pitcher. Pitt then loaded the bases when Casey Roche (JR/Downingtown, Pa.) got hit by a pitch and Steven Shelinsky Jr. (JR/Yardley, Pa.) drew a walk. Vranka brought home the Panthers' first run of the game when he scored on a wild pitch. Sam Parente (SR/Pittston, Pa.) roped a single to third which scored Roche to give Pitt a 2-0 lead. After Elvin Soto (SO/New York, N.Y.) walked to load the bases, Evan Oswald (SR/Butler, Pa.) got hit by a pitch to bring home Shelinksy and give the Panthers a 3-0 lead after the visiting half of the first
Akron scored two in the bottom of the first to cut the Panther lead to 3-2 and tied the game with a run in the second.
Pitt regained the lead in the top of the third inning when it scored five runs. Soto got the rally going with a double off the wall in right center field. Oswald followed Soto with a single into left field and alertly moved to second on a throw to the plate. With runners on second and third, Dylan Wolsonovich (FR/Ford City, Pa.) got hit by a pitch to load the bases. Vranka then came up and sent a single through the left side to bring home Soto and chase the Akron starter from the ballgame. With a new pitcher, Zach Beaver, in the game the Panthers came out aggressively, as Eric Hess (SO/Erie, Pa.) smoked the first pitch up the middle for a pair of RBIs. Following a double steal, Roche brought home Vranka on a sacrifice fly to left. Pitt capped off its inning when Hess scored on an error which gave the Panthers an 8-3 lead.
Devine came in for Pitt in the bottom of the third and quickly retired the side.
While Devine slowed down the Zips offense in the bottom of the third, the Panther bats stayed hot in the top of the fourth as they scored two more in the top of the fourth on a Roche double down the left field line to extend the lead to 10-3.
The Zips answered with three runs in the bottom of the fourth to cut Pitt's lead to 10-6. Joe Harvey (SO/Audobon, Pa.) came in to retire Akron's final batter in the fourth and sat down the next seven batters over the course of 2.1 innings before a leadoff walk in the bottom of the seventh. Harvey was able to pitch around the walk by forcing a fielder's choice and then a double play ball to end the inning.
Jon Danielczyk (SR/Erie, Pa.) came in to pitch for the Panthers in the bottom of the eighth and after a pair of walks was able to get out of the jam with a double play ball and a ground out.
Pitt added an additional run in the top of the ninth on a Hess sacrifice fly to make the score 11-6.
Andrew Belfiglio (FR/Newtown Square, Pa.) and J.R. Leonardi (JR/Pittsburgh, Pa.) closed out the game for the Panthers. Belfiglio got a pair of strikeouts to start the inning, while Leonardi got the final out to secure an 11-7 win.
"Overall I wasn't particularly pleased with our pitching or situational hitting," Jordano said. "There are areas that need to be tightened up and that's was a prime example of that. I made it clear to the club after the ball game and said it's time. It's time to elevate our game to another level and I'm confident that we'll do that."
Pitt will return to action on Friday, April 5, when it opens a three-game set with Big East foe USF in Tampa.