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April 20, 2014

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PITTSBURGH - A six-run outburst in the bottom of the fifth inning lifted the University of Pittsburgh baseball team (17-22, 9-12 ACC) past No. 20 Clemson (24-15, 12-8 ACC), 13-4, Sunday afternoon at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Matt Wotherspoon (SR/Mountain Top, Pa.) (4-5, 5.21 ERA) was credited with the win to take sole possession of third place on the Panthers' all-time list for career victories (22). Jake Long (2-2, 4.65 ERA), on the other hand, received the losing decision for the Tigers after surrendering six runs on three hits and six walks over 4.2 innings of work.

"I can't tell you how much we need this today," head coach Joe Jordano said. "That was a great team victory. I thought Matt Wotherspoon did an excellent job on the mound today and he was backed by a solid defensive effort by our guys. The double down the line by Boo Vazquez in the bottom of the fifth was the turning point in the game. We were down 1-0 and had been frustrated by the last couple of weeks, but that hit sparked us and gave us the lead for the rest of the game."

Pitt put on display a tremendous defensive performance to register the first three outs of the contest. Tyler Slaton led off Clemson's at-bat with a single to right field but was doubled up by Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.) at first when Tyler Krieger lined out to right field. Garrett Boulware followed the double play with a single roped to center field, but Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio) bailed out Wotherspoon with a diving catch in shallow left that robbed Steven Duggar of a base hit.

The Tigers opened the top of the second inning with a one-out single to right center by Steven Wilkerson. After Shane Kennedy flew out to right field, Wilkerson stole second base to give Clemson a running in scoring position. Wotherspoon then issued a four-pitch walk to Jay Baum and a nine-pitch base on balls to Mike Triller to put runners at each bag, but a Slaton groundout slapped back to the mound allowed the Panthers to escape the stanza unscathed.

During the visitors' half of the third, Krieger doubled down the left field line and a hit by pitch against Boulware put two men on for the Tigers. Krieger and Boulware advanced to second and third base, respectively, on a Duggar groundout to the pitcher. With one down and a pair of runners in scoring position, Chris Okey grounded out to Jordan Frabasilio (JR/Chandler, Ariz.) at third while Krieger came across to score on what turned out to be a very close call at the plate, 1-0.

Matt Johnson (JR/Plano, Texas) started off Pitt's turn at the plate in the fifth with an infield single to the left side and was pushed to second base on a sacrifice bunt by Manny Pazos (FR/Miami, Fla.). With Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.) walking to put runners at first and second with one out in the inning, Vazquez stepped up to the plate and cleared the bases with a double sent down the right field line to put the Panthers on top by a 2-1 score.

Long then let loose a wild pitch to grant Vazquez third base and proceeded to walk four straight batters - Nick Yarnall (FR/Landisville, Pa.), Eric Hess (JR/Erie, Pa.), Dylan Wolsonovich (SO/Ford City, Pa.) and Frabasilio - to plate Pitt's third and fourth runs of the game, 4-1. Johnson's next at-bat signaled the team having sent all nine batters to the dish in the fifth and resulted in a two-RBI single to center field to bring home a season-high sixth run of the inning, upping the Panthers' advantage to a 6-1 lead.

In the top of the sixth stanza, Okey turned on a 1-1 offering to send a solo home run well over the wall in left center field to cut Clemson's deficit to four runs, 6-2. Wilkerson then sliced a two-bagger down along the right field line past a diving Hess, prompting Pitt to call upon Jon Danielczyk (SR/Erie, Pa.) out of the bullpen. Danielczyk put a quick end to the Tigers' rally as he sat down both batters he faced in order.

Vazquez notched his 12th multi-hit performance of the season in the bottom of the sixth when he stroked a single through the left side of the infield. Yarnall followed with a base knock ripped past the shortstop and third baseman to mark his fourth time reaching first in the contest. Afterward, Hess wore a pitch to load the bases once again for Wolsonovich, who walked home the Panthers' seventh run of the game. Frabasilio then corkscrewed a dribbling groundball to the second baseman to score Yarnall from third base, making it an 8-2 ball game.

Pitt scored for the third consecutive inning when it took to the plate during the home half of the seventh inning. Pazos, then facing southpaw reliever Alex Bostic, worked a full-count into a walk and Vranka added a single through the left side to lead off the at-bat. Vazquez tallied his third hit of the game with a base knock into right field that brought home Pazos from second base, 9-2. Next, with runners at the corners, Roche smoked an RBI single just beyond the reach of the first baseman to make it a 10-2 score.

Hess drew a walk to load the bases and Wolsonovich knocked in Vazquez on a groundball out to third base, 11-2. Frabasilio battled Garrett Lovorn for an eight-pitch walk to put three runners on the bags once more, and Johnson helped to plate a run when a 2-0 pitch hit him, 12-2. Caleb Parry (FR/Riverside, Calif.) then delivered a two-out, pinch-hit single through the left side to make it a 13-2 duel.

Clemson tagged reliever Luke Curtis (JR/Philipsburg, Pa.) for two runs in the top of the ninth, beginning with a leadoff triple down the right field line by Slaton. After Slaton scored on a wild pitch to make it 13-3, Boulware doubled to left and advanced to third on a Duggar single hit past Frabasilio at third. Duggar moved to second on a wild pitch and was followed by a walk drawn by Okey. The final run of the game was then plated when Wilkerson hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Boulware, 13-4.

The Panthers return to action on Sunday, April 27 when they travel to Arkansas-Pine Bluff for a three-game non-conference series. 

For more information on Pitt baseball, follow the media relations Twitter account at @PittBaseballACC and the coaching staff at @PITTBASEBALL.

- PITT -

Panthers Push Past No. 20 Clemson with 13-4 Victory

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