April 4, 2014
PITTSBURGH - The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (15-14, 7-6 ACC) was no-hit by No. 1 Virginia (26-4, 11-2 ACC) in a 4-0 loss Friday night at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex in Pittsburgh, Pa. The shutout defeat marked the first time in history that Pitt was held scoreless at Charles L. Cost Field, which opened during the 2011 season.
Nathan Kirby (6-1, 1.03 ERA) recorded the ACC's third no-hitter of the season while striking out a career high 18 batters on the evening. Rhys Aldenhoven (SR/Victoria, Australia) (2-2, 3.52 ERA) received the losing decision in the contest, surrendering one earned run over 5.2 innings of work.
"That was a dominating performance by Nathan Kirby," head coach Joe Jordano said. "That was possibly one of the best games in my 27 years that has been thrown against us. He was 92-94 with great command, a breaking ball and a changeup. He had us in negative counts the entire game and we didn't make the necessary adjustments to overcome his dominance. Sometimes, you just have to tip your cap to a great performance. For us, it's a matter of how we will respond coming back tomorrow."
In the top of the first inning, Aldenhoven worked quickly to get Branden Cogswell and Daniel Pinero to hit into consecutive ground ball outs. Mike Papi, however, drew a base on balls during the next at-bat and advanced to second on a single roped to right by Joe McCarthy. Nick Howard followed with a four-pitch walk to load the bases, but Aldenhoven buckled down to punch out Brandon Downes on strikes to escape the stanza unscathed.
A pair of defensive blunders by Pitt allowed Virginia to plate its first run of the contest in the top of the second frame, with Nate Irving first reaching on a fielding error by Jordan Frabasilio (JR/Chandler, Ariz.) at third base. After Kenny Towns laid down a sacrifice bunt down the third base line to move Irving into scoring position, John La Prise slapped a base knock through the left side to put runners on the corners for the Cavaliers. Irving then scored on a suicide squeeze by Cogswell, who reached safely on a fielding miscue by Steven Shelinsky, Jr. (SR/Furlong, Pa.) on the play, putting Virginia on top by a 1-0 score.
McCarthy opened the visitors' half of the third with a stand-up double down the right field line and scored on a two-bagger to left center by Downes, giving the Cavaliers a 2-0 lead. Irving walked with one out to put two runners on base but was caught at second on a fielder's choice put in play by Towns, leaving Virginia in a two-out, first-and-third situation. Manny Pazos (FR/Miami, Fla.) bailed the Panthers out of the jam when he faked to second and threw to third to force Downes into a run-down for the final out.
Kirby continued to carve through Pitt's lineup when he struck out the side in three consecutive innings through the second and fourth frames. Furthermore, while preserving the early workings of a no-hit bid, the Cavaliers sophomore set a Charles L. Cost Field record when registered his 10th strikeout of the game against Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio).
During the bottom of the fifth, Kirby recorded his 10th straight strikeout and 11th overall in the ball game when he sat down Shelinsky, Jr. on strikes, but the streak would stay at 10 when Frabasilio grounded out to La Prise at third base for the second out of the inning. A.J. Lardo (SO/Baltimore, Md.) then drew a two-out walk to become the Panthers' first base runner since the bottom of the first frame. Pitt was unable to muster any further offense with Kirby now in the stretch as the southpaw reached the dozen mark in punch outs with Johnson going down looking at strike three.
Virginia tagged Aldenhoven for a pair of runs in the top of the sixth to double its lead over the Panthers. La Prise sparked the Cavaliers' at-bat with a one-out single up the middle. Pinero made it first and second for Virginia when he was hit by a pitch, putting two on with two outs for Papi. On a 2-1 offering, Papi towered a fly ball to right center field that dropped to the turf on a fielding error by Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.), with both La Prise and Pinero scoring on the play, 4-0.
Andrew Belfiglio (SO/Newtown Square, Pa.), who entered the game in the sixth, tossed a career-high 2.1 innings out of the bullpen for the Panthers, allowing no runs on one hit while striking out one.
Howard led off the top of the ninth inning with a double down the left field line and Downes followed with a base on balls, prompting Pitt to turn to Jon Danielczyk (SR/Erie, Pa.) in relief. Danielczyk managed a groundout, a strikeout and a fly ball out to leave runners stranded at second and third base.
Kirby forced Dylan Wolsonovich (SO/Ford City, Pa.) into a groundout to short to complete the no-hitter.
The Panthers return to action tomorrow afternoon at 3 p.m. to play the second game of their three-game series against the Cavaliers.
- PITT -