CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The University of Pittsburg baseball team fell to No. 22 Virginia in the series finale Sunday afternoon, dropping a 4-3 decision to the Cavaliers at Davenport Field in Charlottesville, Va.
“We played well today and came up a little short,” said head coach Joe Jordano. “We had an opportunity in the ninth and hit into a hard double play to end the game. Josh [Falk] was solid and kept it close and following Frank’s [Maldonado] three-run homer, Dan [Hammer] came in and was really good.
“We hit some balls hard today but credit goes to Virginia. Defensively, they made so many good plays and a few spectacular ones. They are one of the most disciplined hitting teams I have come across in a long time. I was very impressed with the Virginia offense as well as their pitching, they just play the game very well.”
Virginia struck early, taking a 1-0 lead through the first inning of play. Back-to-back singles put runners on the corners with just one out. A bobbled ball off the glove of Alex Amos allowed a run to come across as the Cavaliers grabbed an early advantage.
Runs in the third, fourth and sixth gave the home team a comfortable advantage, as Virginia went up 4-0. In the third, Andy Weber singled to get things going, stealing second before a single by Robbie Coman scored the run. Some small ball allowed the third Virginia run to come across as a single and sacrifice bunt put a runner in scoring position for an RBI single off the bat of Jake McCarthy. The Cavaliers jumped out to a 4-0 lead following a solo homer by Caleb Knight in the sixth.
The Panthers saw an offensive surge in the seventh, cutting the Cavaliers’ lead to 4-3. Amos was hit by a pitch to get the inning started, moving to second on a center into center by Caleb Parry. Frank Maldonado would send a homer over the wall in left, as Pitt trimmed Virginia’s lead to just one.
Freshman Dan Hammer, who came on in relief of Josh Falk in the seventh, silenced the hot Virginia offense, retiring six of the eight batters he faced to make way for the Panther offense in the ninth.
Down by one in the top of the ninth, Nick Banman drew a four-pitch, one-out walk to put the tying run aboard. A bobbled ball at short kept the inning alive as a defensive miscue put two on for the Panthers, as Parry reached on a fielder’s choice. Pitt’s comeback was stifled in the final at bat as Maldonado grounded into a double play, giving Virginia a 4-3 victory.
With the loss, Pitt falls to 14-15, 6-9 in the ACC. Falk drops to 3-3 on the season.
“This week’s break in the schedule comes at a good time,” added Jordano. “We are going to take a couple days to get healthy and prepare for Miami. It will be good to be home.”
The Panthers will return to action this weekend, hosting Miami at Charles L. Cost Field for a three-game weekend series beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday.
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