April 4, 2012
PITTSBURGH – It’s only the second season for the Pitt baseball team in its new home stadium, Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex, but head coach Joe Jordano and the Panthers have quickly made it a tough place for opponents to win.
Pitt ran its winning streak at Charles L. Cost Field to eight games with a 9-1 win over visiting Youngstown State in a non-conference matchup on Wednesday. Overall, the Panthers have improved to 26-7 at their home field.
The Panthers, who improved to 14-12 overall with their third straight win, have won all five of their home games this season, and ended last year’s home schedule with a three-game sweep over West Virginia.
”It was great to play at home, no doubt about it, and it was a great day for baseball,” Jordano said. “We played a pretty solid game today. I thought Casey did a good job on the bump for us, we got some timely hits, and once again we played clean defensively. When you have all those things working in your favor, chances are you’re going to have a chance to win the game.”
Sophomore Casey Roche turned in his best pitching performance of the season as he improved to 2-1 as a midweek starter, allowing just one run on five hits and three walks, while striking out five. Dave Yakopec and Luke Novosel also pitched well in relief, combining for three scoreless innings with just one hit.
The Panthers continued their success at the plate from the final game of the series at Cincinnati. With 11 hits and nine runs against Youngstown State, they have now combined for 31 hits and 19 runs in their last two games.
Rick Devereaux paced the Pitt lineup with three RBIs, upping his BIG EAST-leading total to 37. Batting one spot in front of him, Anthony Defabio got back on pace with a 2-for-3 day at the plate, improving his on-base percentage to .512.
Batting cleanup for the second straight game he has been the pitcher, Roche helped out his own cause with a pair of hits and two RBIs. Stephen Vranka had one hit and drove in one run, while Mike Douglas, Derik Wilson and Evan Oswald had one hit apiece.
In addition to his double, Oswald also contributed with a pair of sacrifice bunts. He has provided a spark at the bottom of the lineup with a .412 on-base percentage.
The game was relatively close in the beginning with Pitt holding a 2-0 lead after two innings. The Panthers pulled away with three runs in the third innings and added one and three runs in the seventh and eighth frames, respectively.
Pitt will put its perfect record at home this season, as well as its home winning streak on the line when it hosts Connecticut for a three-game series starting Thursday at 3 p.m. The two teams will continue the series with a game on Friday at 3 p.m. and close it out with game on Sunday at 1 p.m.