April 14, 2013
PITTSBURGH - The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (24-9, 6-3 Big East) took advantage of timely hitting and used seven shutout innings from starter Rhys Aldenhoven (JR/Victoria, Australia) to down No. 16 Notre Dame (19-14, 4-8 Big East), 12-3, and earn the series sweep this afternoon at Cost Field.
"The objective this week was to play one inning at a time and take care of the basic things that we work on every day," said head coach Joe Jordano. "We knew we were facing a top-20 team in the country coming in. Our guys were very focused and did a very solid job in all aspects of the game this weekend."
Aldenhoven (6-0) earned the win after pitching seven innings of shutout ball allowing five hits and striking out a pair. Matt Ternowchek (4-2) took the loss for the Irish.
"Our pitching staff did such a solid job for us," Jordano explained. "Only needing three innings from our bullpen in a series against a team of Notre Dame's caliber is very special."
The Irish had the game's first scoring opportunity in the top of the fourth when, after getting the first out, Aldenhoven walked the bases loaded. The Australian righty was able to pitch out of the jam by forcing Lane Richards to ground into a 4-6-3 double play.
Pitt got on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning. Dylan Wolsonovich (FR/Ford City, Pa.) and Stephen Vranka (JR/Monroeville, Pa.) drew a pair of walks to put runners on first and second. Eric Hess (SO/Erie, Pa.) then came to the plate a blasted a three-run shot over the wall in right to give the home team a 3-0 lead.
Notre Dame started the sixth with a base hit but the Pitt defense again came up huge behind Aldenhoven with yet another double play ball to end the inning.
The Panthers broke the game open with five runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Steven Shelinsky Jr. (JR/Yardley, Pa.) brought home the first run of the inning when he singled home Boo Vazquez (SO/Youngstown, Ohio). Sam Parente (SR/Pittston, Pa.) followed by getting hit by a pitch. A perfectly executed hit and run from Wolsonovich brought home Shelinksy and moved Parente to third. Vranka singled to left for another run to make the score 6-0 in favor of Pitt. The Panthers were able to add two more when, with two outs, Hess reached on an error by the ND shortstop which pushed the lead to 8-0 going into the seventh.
Four more runs were added by Pitt in the bottom of the eighth on sacrifice flies from Vranka and Hess and a two-run homer from Casey Roche (JR/Downingtown, Pa.) over the left field wall to make the score 12-0.
J.R. Leonardi (JR/Pittsburgh, Pa.) and Pete Macke (FR/Omaha, Neb.) came in for the Panthers in the eighth and ninth respectively and were able to close out the game and series sweep.
"We're very grounded and that's what I talked to the team about after the game," Jordano said. "This is the first weekend that mirrored our opening weekend in Wichita when we played well in all phases of the game and when we do that we're going to be tough to beat."
The Panthers will be back in action on Tuesday, April 16, when they host Youngstown State in 3 p.m. contest at Charles L. Cost at the Petersen Sports Complex.