April 13, 2014
CORAL GABLES, Fla. - A two-out walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning by No. 20 Miami’s (24-12, 13-4 ACC) Willie Abreu dropped the University of Pittsburgh baseball team (16-18, 8-9 ACC) by a 1-0 score Saturday night at Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field in Coral Gables, Fla.
Cooper Hammond (5-0, 2.37 ERA) was credited with the win for the Hurricanes after halting the Panthers’ bats with a flawless relief outing in the 10th. Hobie Harris (JR/McKinney, Texas) (3-4, 2.43 ERA), who allowed just one run in 3.2 innings out of the bullpen, received the losing decision for Pitt.
“We played hard tonight,” head coach Joe Jordano said. “Coming off a disappointing game on Friday, our guys came out and battled for 10 innings. To have the game end on a tough call is difficult to take, but once again we were right there in a position to win the ball game. We need to come out tomorrow and play our game. We need to keep playing hard and good things will happen.”
The first three frames of the game were highlighted by tremendous pitching efforts on both sides of the diamond, including a trio of perfect stanzas manufactured by Miami southpaw Andrew Suarez. The Panthers’ starting pitcher Joseph Harvey (JR/Audobon, Pa.) matched Suarez’s early start with three shutout innings of his own making, with the Hurricanes scattering just three hits over that stretch.
Miami began its press against Harvey in the bottom of the third inning when Dale Carey reached safely on an infield single. After a one-out balk granted Carey second base, Tyler Palmer worked a five-pitch walk to put a pair of runners on for Will Abreu, who was sat down looking at strike three for the second out of the frame. Cleanup hitter Zack Collins then stroked a deep fly ball to Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio) in left field for the third and final out of the inning to keep the contest at a 0-0 score.
Suarez opened the top of the fourth inning by punching out Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.) and Dylan Wolsonovich (SO/Ford City, Pa.) on strikes. Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.) then drew a two-out walk to put an end to Suarez’s bid at a perfect game, but a line out to left by Steven Shelinsky, Jr. (SR/Furlong, Pa.) would keep the lefty’s no-hitter intact through four frames.
Following yet another one-two-three inning from Suarez, the Hurricanes chipped at Harvey once more in the bottom of the fifth. After Alex Hernandez flew out to center and Johnny Ruiz whiffed at strike three, Carey notched his second base hit of the game with a single lofted beyond the reach of Matt Johnson (JR/Plano, Texas) fading into shallow right field. Carey, taking a tempting lead off of first, then attracted a pickoff attempt by Harvey that resulted in a throwing error, allowing him to take hold of second base. Harvey and Palmer engaged in a seven-pitch battle that resulted in a groundout to Jordan Frabasilio (JR/Chandler, Ariz.) at third, preserving the shutout shared by both teams through five innings played.
Collins ripped a one-out double down the right field line to put a Miami runner in scoring position for the second straight frame in the sixth. Brad Fieger followed with a fly-out to deep right center that Roche corralled on the run and then relayed to third to pin down a tagging Collins for an inning-ending double play. The outstanding defensive effort by Roche protected the 0-0 game for Pitt.
In the top of the seventh, Roche tattooed a two-bagger off the left field wall to break up Suarez’s no-hitter just three innings after putting an end to the lefty’s perfect game in the fourth. However, Roche was left stranded at second when Suarez buckled down to strike out Shelinsky, Jr. and Vazquez it consecutive at-bats.
One half-inning after Harris produced an unmarked relief stanza in the seventh, Frabasilio opened the Panthers’ turn at the plate in the eighth with a sharply-struck single up the middle. Frabasilio quickly made his way to third base after back-to-back ground ball outs put in play by Eric Hess (JR/Erie, Pa.) and Johnson, but Manny Pazos (FR/Miami, Fla.) left the go-ahead run hanging when he popped out to the left side, 0-0.
Carey registered his third hit of the game and sixth overall in the series with a single through the left side in the bottom of the eighth inning. Harris, backing Palmer into an 0-2 hole, followed with a pitchout and a pair of pickoff attempts at first to then sling strike three for the second out of the frame. During Abreu’s two-out turn at the dish, Pazos airmailed a pickoff attempt at first base that allowed Carey to take second uncontested, but Harris induced a ground ball out to escape the inning unharmed.
Miami nearly closed the game in the bottom of the ninth when Collins launched a screaming line drive to the right field warning track, meeting the leather of Roche’s glove for out number one. The second out of the inning came when Harris struck out Fieger but Brandon Lopez added a base on balls to keep the at-bat alive for the Hurricanes. Lopez broke for second base on a ball in the dirt and easily secured third on another throwing error by Pazos. With the game-winning run just 90 feet from the plate, Harris hurled a hook at the dish that Brad Zunica was rung up on with a check swing for the last out of the ninth.
The top of the 10th marked the first time the Panthers took a 0-0 game into extra frames since March 12, 1994, when they defeated Evansville, 1-0, in 12 innings played. A one-two-three appearance by Hammond in extras, however, would pin Pitt’s back against the wall yet again in the home half.
Johnny Ruiz led off Miami’s split of the 10th with a one-out single sliced into the left field corner. Harris intentionally walked Carey to set up a force out at any base, but both runners would move to second and third on a groundout to the right side by Palmer. Wolsonovich then backhanded an Abreu ground ball at short and fired away to first for the third out, but Abreu was called safe as he slid headfirst into the bag on a bang-bang play, 1-0.
The Panthers return to action on Sunday, April 13 at 12 p.m. when they close their three-game set against the Hurricanes. Matt Wotherspoon (SR/Mountain Top, Pa.) (3-4, 5.96 ERA) is expected to toe the rubber against Bryan Radziewski (2-2, 4.02 ERA) in the contest.
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