April 9, 2013
Youngstown, Ohio – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (21-9) used a season-best 24 hits to down Youngstown State (9-22), 24-7, this afternoon at Eastwood Field. Leading the way for the Panthers was Casey Roche (JR/Downingtown, Pa.), who hit for the cycle going 5-for-7 with 10 RBIs, including a grand slam.
“It’s the first time in a long time I can recall a player hitting for the cycle,” said head coach Joe Jordano. “To do it with a grandslam on the home run side was quite an accomplishment for Casey.”
While Roche was the star with his cycle and 10 RBIs, the Panthers used a balanced attack at the plate with seven players recording multiple hits and 10 tallying RBIs, including four who had multiple RBIs.
“Obviously we swung the bats very well today,” Jordano said. “It was a very competitive game until the fifth inning and then we were able to make a few adjustments, remain patient at the plate and did a very good job of executing offensively.”
Luke Curtis (SO/Philipsburg, Pa.) (1-0) earned the win after pitching an inning of relief allowing two hits and no runs with a strikeout. Ryan Krokos (1-5) took the loss.
“Up until the last inning we played well defensively but we made a few miscues in the last inning,” explained Jordano. “It’s still a concern for me in terms of closing games but we were able to get a few of our younger pitchers out there throwing some innings. Their development is going critical for us as we come down the stretch.”
Pitt got on the board first in the top half of the second inning. Steven Shelinsky Jr. (JR/Yardley, Pa.) started the inning by roping a stand-up double down the left field line. A Boo Vazquez (SO/Youngstown, Ohio) fly ball to the gap in right center moved Shelinsky to third with a lone out. Sam Parente (SR/Pittston, Pa.) then brought home the game’s first run with a single to left giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead.
Stephen Vranka (JR/Monroeville, Pa.) was able to extend the Pitt lead in the top of the third inning when he brought home Dylan Wolsonovich (FR/Ford City, Pa.) with a double down the left field line. Vranka then stole third and came home when Roche legged out a single up the middle to the second to make the score 3-0.
YSU threatened in the bottom of the third getting runners on second and third with two outs but Panther starter Jeff Kelly (SR/Pottstown, Pa.) was able to get Josh White to fly out to Roche in right field.
Parente started off the top of the fourth with a double off of the top of the wall in left field. Elvin Soto (SO/New York, N.Y.) followed by drawing a four pitch walk. Wolsonovich the laid down a solid bunt to move Parente to third and Soto to second but the pair were left stranded.
The Penguins got on the board in the bottom half of the fifth inning when they scored a trio of runs to even the game at 3-3.
Pitt responded in a big way in the top of the sixth inning as it scored five runs, on six-consecutive hits, to retake the lead at 8-3. Soto started the Panthers’ rally with a one-out single to right. Wolsonovich then came to the plate and sent the first pitch he saw into left for a single. Evan Oswald (SR/Butler, Pa.) brought home the first run of the inning with an RBI single to score Soto. Vranka continued his solid day when he ripped a double down the line in left for his second RBI on the day. Eric Hess (SO/Erie, Pa.) followed by sending the first pitch he saw into the gap in right center field past the reach of a diving Mike Accardi in center field to clear the bases and give Pitt a 7-3 lead. Roche wrapped up the scoring in the inning when he brought Hess home on a liner to left past a drawn in Penguin infield.
From there, Curtis, Pete Macke (FR/Omaha, Neb.), Joe Harvey (SO/Audobon, Pa.), Dave Yakopec (SO/Lower Burrell, Pa.) and Jon Danielczyk (JR/Erie, Pa.) were able to hold YSU to four runs in the ninth and struck out seven en route to the victory.
While the Panther arms were holding the Penguins at bay the Pitt offense continued to extend the lead scoring four in the seventh, five in the eighth and seven in the ninth.
In the top of the seventh the Panthers added four more runs when Wolsonovich smoked his first career home run, a two run shot over the wall in left field, and Roche hammered a two RBI triple to move the lead to 12-3.
Pitt put another five spot on the board in the top of the eighth to move its lead to 17-3. Soto started the frame with a walk. Wolsonovich followed with his fourth hit of the day, a single through left side. Vranka brought home his third RBI of the day with a double. Following a Hess walk to load the bases, Roche hit an absolute no doubter of a grand slam to left center for his sixth home run of the year and eighth RBI of the day.
Bennette Hill (Olive Branch, Miss.) led off the ninth when he drew a four pitch walk. Soto then and Wolsonovich the forced walks to load the bases. Ron Sucre (SR/Miami, Fla.) came in to pinch hit for Oswald and brought home Hill with a sac fly to deep center. Vranka then walked to reload the bases and Hess got hit by a pitch for an RBI. Roche then completed his cycle with a double to the gap in center for a pair of RBIs. John Peluso (SR/Bethlehem, Pa.) followed the Roche double with one of his own to the gap in right center for his second RBI of the season. Hill came to the plate again and brought home Roche on a sacrifice fly. Soto blooped a single to right field to extend the lead to 24-3.
The Penguins added four in the home half of the ninth but Pitt was able to secure the 24-7 win. The 24 runs are the most for the program since 2010 when they also scored 24 at West Virginia in a 24-9 win in 2010.
“We’re going to continue to work hard at it and have a few good practices before a very big three game series with Notre Dame this weekend,” Jordano said.
Pitt returns to action on Friday, April 12, when it opens a three game series with Big East rival Notre Dame with a 6 p.m. contest at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex.