April 16, 2014
KENT, Ohio – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (16-20, 8-10 ACC) fell to Kent State (23-12, 9-3 MAC), 4-1, Wednesday night at Olga Mural Field at Schoonover Stadium in Kent, Ohio.
Michael Clark picked up the win for the Golden Flashes in a five-inning outing that featured three strikeouts and only one earned run. Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.) was tagged for the loss, allowing two runs on three hits in total. John Fasola was credited the save after securing the final out in top of the ninth.
“Obviously we are in a difficult stretch right now and we are working to get out of it,” head coach Joe Jordano said. “Time is if the essence. We have to get our confidence back and play through it. We have a very talented Clemson team coming in this weekend that is really, really good and we are going to have to bring everything we have and compete. We have it in there we just have to get back in track. To a man, everyone is disappointed but they also realize that we still have a lot of baseball left.”
Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.) led off the first at-bat of the game with his team-leading 11th double of the season. After Vranka advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt laid down by Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio), Roche worked a base on balls to put runners at the corners for Pitt. The Panthers then took a 1-0 lead over Kent State when Vranka scored on a double steal.
The Golden Flashes would strike back three innings later in the bottom of the fourth. Zarley Zalewski reached on an infield error and proceeded to score on an RBI double down the left field line by Cody Koch, knotting the game at a 1-1 score. T.J. Sutton bunted to push Koch to third and was plated by Jeff Revesz on a single through the right side of the infield, 2-1.
Pitt opened the top of the fifth with back-to-back four-pitch walks drawn by Caleb Parry (FR/Riverside, Calif.) and Vranka. Bunting once again, Vazquez managed to move both runners into scoring position to spark a scoring threat for the Panthers. However, a groundout and fly ball out allowed Kent State to escape the stanza unscathed.
T.J. Zeuch (FR/Mason, Ohio) entered the game in relief of Roche during the home half of the sixth. Sawyer Pollen started off the Golden Flashes’ turn at the plate with a leadoff walk and took hold of second base on a passed ball. Following an infield single by Jon Wilson that placed Pollen at third, Alex Miklos batted into a fielder’s choice that pushed across Kent State’s third run of the contest. With Miklos swiping second base on a one-out steal, Justin Wagler was then able to add another run to the board on a two-bagger to center field, 4-1.
The Panthers return to action on April 18-20 when they host No. 20 Clemson at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex in Pittsburgh, Pa.
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