Stephen Vranka scored four runs in Pitt's 16-11 victory over BC
May 4, 2014
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (21-24, 11-13 ACC) erased an early 8-0 deficit and scored a season-high 16 runs en route to defeating Boston College (20-29, 9-18 ACC) by the score of 16-11 on Sunday afternoon at Pellagrini Diamond to claim the series.
The two teams combined to score 27 runs on 31 hits. Pitt had five players with multi-hit games and had six players score at least two runs. Stephen Vranka led the charge by going 3-for-5 at the plate with an RBI and scored four runs. Boo Vazquez and Casey Roche were both 3-for-6, while Roche and Steven Shelinsky, Jr. each had three RBI. Eric Hess pitched in with two RBI.
"Matt [Wotherspoon] didn't have his best stuff today, so we had to rely on the bullpen and they did a great job," head coach Joe Jordano said. "When we got down 8-0 I pulled the team in and said `Hey guys, this is going to be a long baseball game. All I want you to do is have great at bats and see where it takes us.' We then put up a six-spot and got right back into the game. We still made some mistakes, but that's what Sunday's are about; it's a grind. That was a really good series win heading into next weekend."
Boston College's Chris Shaw provided the Eagles with a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning with his team-high fifth home run of the season. His homer to right center also scored Gabriel Hernandez who led off the inning with a single up the middle.
The Eagles then plated six runs on five hits in the bottom of the second inning, including a bases clearing double from Shaw which gave Boston College an 8-0 advantage. However, the Panthers answered BC's six run inning with a six run inning of their own in the top of the third.
Pitt's first six batters of the frame reached base safely, and all those batters would come around to score. Hitters one through five all tallied hits, including consecutive RBI doubles from Roche, Shelinsky and Hess. The Panthers sent all nine batters to the plate in the inning and their rally brought them within two at 8-6.
After relief pitcher Sam Mersing (2-2, 6.06 ERA) worked himself out of a bases loaded, no outs situation in the bottom of the third, the Panthers took a 9-8 lead in the top of the fourth inning with three runs in the frame. Like the inning before, Vranka, Vazquez and Roche led off the inning with hits, and they would all come around to score on RBI's from Shelinsky (HBP), Eric Hess (single) and Dylan Wolsonovich (sac fly).
Boston College tied the game at 9-9 in the fourth on an RBI single from Johnny Adams, but the Pitt bats stayed hot and the Panthers took an 11-9 lead on an RBI triple from Vranka and an RBI double from Vazquez in the fifth.
BC made the score 11-10 in the bottom of the fifth, but the Panthers then put some separation between the two teams with a five spot in the top of the sixth inning. Pitt sent 11 batters to the plate in that inning and tallied their five runs on just one hit. Pitt was helped out by five walks, two fielding errors and a wild pitch in the inning.
Boston College opened the eighth inning with back-to-back doubles which made the score 16-11, but that would be their final run of the game as Luke Curtis entered in the ninth inning to close out the victory for the Panthers.
With all the offensive that was on display today, the Pitt bullpen pitched very well as Mersing, Jon Danielczyk and Curtis combined to pitch 7.1 innings and only allowed three runs. Mersing picked up the victory by pitching 2.1 innings, while Danielczyk went innings 5-8 and Curtis pitched the final inning.
The Panthers will return home to host a massive ACC series with Maryland who just swept Notre Dame and is now one game ahead of Pitt in the wins column with 12 ACC victories. The series is set to run Friday through Sunday, while Saturday's contest will be Senior Day.