April 13, 2013
PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (23-9, 5-3 Big East) clinched its series with No. 16 Notre Dame (19-13, 4-7 Big East) by taking a 4-2 victory this afternoon at Cost Field.
Matt Wotherspoon (JR/Mountain Top, Pa.) (5-1) earned the win in a pitchers dual going 8.0 innings allowing two runs on four hits with five strikeouts. Adam Norton (7-1) took the loss for Notre Dame after a 7.1 inning, eight hit and four earned outing. Joe Harvey (SO/Audobon, Pa.) picked up his second save of the year after closing the door on the Irish in the ninth.
“Obviously starting pitching was outstanding for us again today,” said head coach Joe Jordano. “Their guy, Norton, coming into the game 7-0 threw a heck of a ball game. We were able to get some timely hitting and take advantage of some aggressiveness on the basepaths and again Matt Wotherspoon just pitched outstanding.”
The Panthers struck first when Boo Vazquez (SO/Youngstown, Ohio) turned on a 1-1 fastball and blasted a solo homer to right field in bottom of the second inning. Elvin Soto (SO/New York, N.Y.) followed the Vazquez bomb with a single and Steven Shelinsky Jr. (Jr/Yardley, Pa.) was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second with no outs. Sam Parente (SR/Pittston, Pa.) then laid down a beautiful bunt to move the runners up 90 feet. Dylan Wolsonovich (FR/Ford City, Pa.) was able to cash in on the opportunity with a single to short which brought home Soto and gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead.
Pitt had a chance to build on their lead in the bottom half of the third when it loaded the bases with no outs but were unable to capitalize on the opportunity when Norton got out of the jam with no damage done.
The Irish responded to Norton’s strong pitching by tacking on a pair of runs in the top of the fourth to even the score at 2-2.
The Panthers retook the lead in the bottom of the fifth. Vazquez started the rally by roping a single up the middle. Soto followed with a single of his own through the right side. Shelinksy brought Soto home when he ripped a single to center for his 29th RBI of the season giving Pitt a 3-2 lead.
While the Panther bats helped them regain the lead, Wotherspoon made sure they kept it as he rolled through the middle frames retiring 12 consecutive batters before allowing a two-out double in the top of the eighth. Following an intentional walk, Wotherspoon was able to get out of the jam by forcing Trey Mencini to foul out to Casey Roche (JR/Downingtown, Pa.) in right field.
After Pitt added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when Shelinsky scored on a passed ball, Harvey was able to slam the door on the Irish bats in the ninth. Harvey started the inning in ideal fashion, getting a one-pitch ground out to short stop Evan Oswald (SR/Butler, Pa.). The second out was more eventful as Blaise Lezynski put a charge into a ball that looked to be headed for extra bases but Roche laid out and robbed the Notre Dame DH of a hit.
After a hit to short put the tying run at the plate, Harvey was able to get the final out when Charlie Markson lined a ball off of Harvey which harmlessly found its way into the glove of Eric Hess (SO/Erie, Pa.) who stepped on first for the game’s final out.
“To win the series today puts us in a great shape entering tomorrow but as always we’re going to take it one day at a time,” Jordano explained.
The Panthers and Irish will close out their series tomorrow, Sunday, April 14, when they faceoff at noon. Rhys Aldenhoven (JR/Victoria, Australia) (5-0, 2.52) will toe the rubber for Pitt while Notre Dame will send out Matt Ternowchek (4-1, 3.33 ERA).