April 20, 2012
PITTSBURGH — Two big innings proved costly as the Pitt baseball team fell 8-4 on Friday night in the first game of a three-game series at West Virginia.
The Mountaineers scored four runs in the third inning and pulled away in what was then a close game with four more in the eighth. Just five of the runs were earned.
After falling behind 4-1 after three innings, the Panthers battled back to cut the deficit to one run. Ronald Sucre scored on a balk in the fourth to make it 4-2. And then in the eighth inning, Casey Roche doubled to deep left-center field and scored on Stephen Vranka’s double to right-center field.
Following the four runs by West Virginia in the eighth, Pitt made one last comeback attempt in the final inning as Rick Devereaux hit a solo home run, his sixth of the season, to right field to make it a four-run game. The Panthers got two more runners on base before making the final out.
Devereaux is now tied with freshman Elvin Soto for the team lead in home runs. As a team, the Panthers have hit five homers in their last three games, including a walk-off solo shot by Roche against Akron on Wednesday.
The Panthers had the first lead of the game, scoring an unearned run in the second inning. Vranka and Sucre hit back-to-back singles with two outs, and Vranka then scored on error by the Mountaineers’ shortstop.
Matt Wotherspoon went the distance for the Panthers, giving up 10 hits and three walks, while striking out five batters. It was the second complete game of the season for Wotherspoon and the fifth total for the Pitt pitching staff.
Once again, Pitt had no trouble getting guys on base. The Panthers had 11 hits, four walks and a hit-by-pitch, but stranded 11 runners.
Pitt and West Virginia will resume the conference series with the second game on Saturday at 2 p.m.