April 2, 2014
NILES, Ohio - The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (15-13, 7-5 ACC) fell to Youngstown State (4-17, 0-2 Horizon), 7-6, Wednesday evening at Eastwood Field in Niles, Ohio.
Alex Frey (1-0, 2.25 ERA) picked up the win for the Penguins, tossing 1.2 innings of shutout relief. Luke Curtis (JR/Philipsburg, Pa.) (0-1, 2.30 ERA) was tagged with the losing decision for the Panthers after allowing two runs on six hits in three innings of work. Josh North earned his first save of the season as well.
"To say the least, this was a disappointing ball game," head coach Joe Jordano said. "I give credit to Youngstown State. They won the game, period. We did not pitch well, we made some mistakes on the base paths and did not score over the final six innings. We certainly need a good short-term memory to forget about this one and to prepare for Virginia, one of the premier teams in the country, coming in this weekend."
A seven-pitch at-bat resulting in a base on balls by Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.) led off the game-opening stanza with Dylan Wolsonovich (SO/Ford City, Pa.) following suit with a walk of his own drawing out of the two-hole. After Vranka advanced to third on a Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio) fly-ball out to right field, Wolsonovich made a clean swipe of second base to put two runners in scoring position for Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.). Roche reached on an error by shortstop Shane Willoughby, allowing Vranka to trot past home plate, 1-0.
(JR/Chandler, Ariz.) worked a full-count walk to begin Pitt's half of the second inning and registered his second stolen base of the season during Matt Johnson's
(JR/Plano, Texas) turn at the plate. Johnson then roped a base knock to right field to drive home Frabasilio, upping the Panthers' lead to a 2-0 advantage.
Youngstown State responded rather handily in the bottom of the second, plating a trio of runners on four hits in the frame. Kris Moules and Lorenzo Arcuri ignited the Penguins' rally with back-to-back singles to right field. With one down and two men on base, Nick Dinello launched a bases-clearing triple to left center to tie the game at two runs apiece. Willoughby added to the inning's onslaught with an RBI single to right field, giving Youngstown State its first lead of the contest at a 3-2 score.
In the top of the third, Wolsonovich opened Pitt's at-bat with a leadoff double to right center field. After Ryan Krokos was lifted in favor of reliver Jeremy Quinlan, Vazquez reached on a bunt single slapped to the right side. Roche and Eric Hess (JR/Erie, Pa.) drove in Wolsonovich and Vazquez, respectively, on consecutive RBI singles to reclaim the lead at 4-3. Steven Shelinsky, Jr. (SR/Furlong, Pa.) then lofted a single to left field to score Roche, pushing the Panthers' lead to two runs. After Frabasilio lined out to center, Hess and Shelinsky, Jr. were motioned to second and third base on a double steal. Johnson then grounded out to the second baseman to record his second RBI of the day, making it a 6-3 ball game.
Renan Rodriguez (JR/Miami, Fla.) issued a one-out walk to Kurt Laver in the bottom of the third frame and Josh White reached on a Wolsonovich error to put two runners on for the Penguins. Matt Sullivan, Youngstown State's cleanup hitter, then singled to right field to plate Laver, cutting the Panthers' lead to two runs, 6-4.
Curtis came on in relief of Rodriguez during the home half of the fourth after a leadoff walk drawn by Arcuri, who advanced to second base on a failed pickoff attempt at first. The Penguins then put runners at the corners when Hix stroked a single to the right side that Johnson was unable to corral. Alex Larivee delivered a two-out, RBI single to right field in the next at-bat to score Arcuri, pulling Youngstown State within a run of Pitt's lead, 6-5.
Sullivan worked a base on balls with one down in the bottom of the fifth and Mike Accardi replaced him on the bases as a pinch runner. Accardi quickly found himself standing on third base after Moules walked and Arcuri singled to left, presenting a bases-loaded situation for Dinello, who struck out. However, Hix delivered a two-out single to shallow right field to bring across Accardi, knotting the game at a 6-6 tie.
During the Penguins' at-bat in the seventh, White connected with a 3-2 offering for a leadoff double to deep center field and Accardi bunted for a base hit down the third base line to put runners at first and third. Curtis then let loose a wild pitch that scored White from second, giving Youngstown State its first lead of the game since the bottom of the second inning, 7-6.
The Penguins turned to North out of the bullpen in the top of the eighth inning. North worked a pair of stellar frames in the eighth and ninth, allowing no base runners while striking out four Panthers.
Pitt returns to action Friday afternoon at 3 p.m. when it hosts No. 1 Virginia in an Atlantic Coast Conference series at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex.
For more information on Panthers baseball, follow the media relations Twitter account at @PittBaseballACC and the coaching staff at @PITTBASEBALL.