April 30, 2013
Morgantown, W. Va. – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (33-10) defeated rival West Virginia (27-19), 7-6, this evening in front of a capacity crowd of 2,535 at Hawley Field in Morgantown. The crowd was over double the prior capacity record for Hawley Field.
“That was a phenomenal college baseball atmosphere,” said head coach Joe Jordano. “It was a very exciting game. West Virginia is obviously one of the hottest teams in the Big 12 right now and I just thought it was a great game.”
Casey Roche (JR/Downingtown, Pa.) (1-0) earned the win after going 5.2 innings allowing three runs and striking out two while Jon Dainelczyk (JR/Erie, Pa.) picked up the save after pitching a scoreless ninth. Brock Dykxhoorn (2-1) took the loss for WVU.
The Panthers got on the board first when they scored six in the top of the fourth inning. Eric Hess (SO/Erie, Pa.) started the inning with a single into left field. Following a fly ball that died at the warning track for the first out of the inning, Boo Vazquez (SO/Youngstown, Ohio) ripped a single up the middle. Steven Shelinsky Jr. (JR/Yardley, Pa.) then drew a four pitch walk to load the bases for Elvin Soto (SO/New York, N.Y.) who brought home the game’s first run with a single into center. Sam Parente (SR/Pittston, Pa.) followed with a perfectly executed squeeze play down the first base line for an RBI single of his own before Bennette Hill (FR/Olive Branch, Miss.) smashed a grandslam, his first-career homerun, over the 370 ft. sign in right field to give Pitt a 6-0 lead.
WVU responded with a pair in fourth and one in the fifth to make the score 6-3. The Mountaineers threatened to cut into the lead more in the bottom of the sixth with a pair of two-out singles but J.R. Leonardi (JR/Pittsburgh, Pa.) came in and got Bobby Body to harmlessly groundout to Parente at third.
In the top of the seventh, Roche helped out his cause on the mound when he ripped a two out single into left field scoring Stephen Vranka (JR/Monroeville, Pa.), who had doubled to right earlier in the inning, and giving the Panthers a 7-3 advantage.
Leonardi stayed on for the bottom of the seventh and retried the WVU bats in order. However, the Mountaineers were able to score three in the bottom of the eighth to get within a run at 7-6 and close the book on Leonardi.
After WVU got the leadoff runner on in the final frame, Danielczyk was able to get the next three batters to ground out and secure the save and the victory for the Panthers.
“We had a freshman come up big for us in Bennette Hill with the grandslam,” said Jordano. “We had solid pitching performances from Casey, J.R. and Jon. Overall, I thought it was a very solid performance and again just a great night of college baseball.”
Pitt will return to action tomorrow Wednesday, May 1, when it hosts Akron in a 6 p.m. contest at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex.