May 5, 2012
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The Pitt baseball team bounced back from a sub-par offensive performance in the first game with a 5-2 win over Rutgers in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader. Ethan Mildren pitched eight strong innings, while Evan Oswald and Rick Devereaux had three hits apiece to lead the Panthers to a split with the Scarlet Knights.
“That was a big win; it was a must-win. To come back after being disappointed in the first game shows a lot of character,” said Pitt head coach Joe Jordano. “As I’ve said all along the important thing to me is our kids are playing hard, and every day our kids are playing hard. We just have to come back tomorrow and try to win the series.”
The Panthers took an early 1-0 lead to start the second game with a run in the top of the first inning. Stephen Vranka, who saw his eight-game hitting streak come to an end in the first game, led off with a double to right-center field. He then scored on a one-out double by Rick Devereaux, who also went to the opposite field to drive in the first of his two RBI.
Mildren gave up one run in the first inning and another in the third but that was it as he lowered his ERA to a team-best 3.55. He gave up eight hits and three walks while striking out four batters.
After the third inning it was all Pitt as the Panthers added four more runs. Mike Douglas tied the game with an RBI triple down the right-field line in the fourth inning, and the Panthers took the lead with a sacrifice fly by Devereaux in the fifth.
and Casey Roche
, two of Pitt’s five players that have batting averages over .300, added RBI singles to give the Panthers some insurance runs.
“That was a great game. Ethan really pitched well for the second week in a row,” said Jordano. “We got some timely hits and played very well defensively.
Joe Harvey pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his second save of the season. He walked one batter and struck out two, including the final batter of the game looking.
Oswald, who reached base with a walk in the first game, was 3-for-4 in the second game to extend his on-base streak to 17 games. He now has the team’s third best average (.325) and second best on-base percentage (.432)
“I’ve really been working hard in the batting cage with Coach (Danny) Lopaze and Coach Jordano. They’ve helped me get more comfortable with my swing,” Oswald said.
Rutgers took the first game by a score of 3-1. Tyler Gebler held Pitt to just five hits in a complete-game performance.
Boo Vazquez drove in the only run for the Panthers with a single in the seventh inning.
Similar to the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, Sunday’s series finale against Rutgers is also a must-win for Pitt as it tries to make a run for the last conference playoff spot. That game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.