April 20, 2013
PITTSBURGH – The No. 25 University of Pittsburgh baseball team (28-10, 8-3 Big East) used a grand slam from Steven Shelinsky Jr. (JR/Yardley, Pa.) in the bottom of the six inning to pull away from Rutgers (18-18, 8-6 Big East) and take game two of a double header, 9-4, this afternoon at Cost Field.
“It was a long day of baseball and a very cold day of baseball but I was very pleased with how our team grinded it out today,” said head coach Joe Jordano. “I thought our pitchers minimized today and obviously we came up with some timely hitting with the two grand slams which really opened up a pair of close and tightly contested games.”
Matt Wotherspoon (JR/Mountain Top, Pa.) (6-1) went 7.0 innings allowing three earned runs and striking out three to collect the win. Tyler Gebler (3-5) took the loss for the Scarlet Knights.
The Panthers struck first in the home half of the first inning. Eric Hess (SO/Erie, Pa.) drew a one-out walk to start the rally and was followed Casey Roche (JR/Downingtown, Pa.) who singled through the right side advancing Hess to third. Shelinsky then brought Hess home with a sacrifice fly to make the score 1-0.
RU responded with a run in the top of the second to even the score at 1-1 before Pitt retook the lead in the bottom of the second.
John Peluso (SR/Bethlehem, Pa.) singled up middle to lead off the inning and was advanced to second on a beautiful bunt by Dylan Wolsonovich (FR/ Ford City, Pa.). Following an out, Stephen Vranka (JR/Monroeville, Pa.) came up with a clutch double to score Peluso and was followed by Hess who singled him home to give Pitt a 3-1 lead.
The Scarlet Knights again tacked on a lone run in the top of the third to cut into the advantage but Pitt responded with another pair in the home half of the third to push its lead to 5-2. Wolsonovich started the scoring by doubling home Peluso. Vranka then came up with his second consecutive two-out RBI when he singled home Wolsonovich.
Rutgers looked poised for a big inning in the top of the fourth, getting runners on second and third with one out but Wotherspoon pitched out of the jam allowing a lone run on a fielder’s choice.
Following four scoreless half innings, Pitt broke the game open in the bottom of the sixth when Shelinsky smoked a grand slam into right field for his team-leading 12th home run on the season extending the Panther lead to 9-3.
RU was able to tack on a run in the top of the eighth but it wasn’t enough as J.R. Leonardi (JR/Pittsburgh, Pa.) got the final six outs of the game in relief to wrap up the double header with a pair of Pitt victories.
“That’s a very very good team,” said Jordano. “I have nothing but respect for Coach Hill and his program and I know that they’ll be ready to go and ready to compete tomorrow.”
The two teams will wrap up their series with a noon contest tomorrow at Charls L. Cost Field. Rutgers will send Charlie Law (3-3) to the mound, while Pitt’s starter is still to be determined.