ATLANTA – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team fell to Georgia Tech 4-3 in the second game of a three-game series Sunday evening at Russ Chandlers Stadium in Atlanta.
“Tonight we gave Georgia Tech too many opportunities, and they capitalized,” said head coach Joe Jordano. “We had four freshmen in the lineup today. Dan [Hammer] pitched very well today as did Isaac [Mattson]. We had offensive opportunities in several innings and simply could not get a big hit. That was the difference tonight, Georgia Tech got the hit and we didn’t. Now are backs are to the wall and we have to get it done tomorrow.”
The Panthers threatened early as back-to-back walks to Jacob Wright and Caleb Parry got the game underway. A double play would get a pair of quick outs for the Yellow Jackets, but moved Wright into scoring position. After Frank Maldonado took a pitch to the shoulder to put men on the corners, a ground out to the second baseman would end the frame as Pitt was unable to plate a run.
Freshman starter Dan Hammer was solid in his first two innings of work, retiring six of the first seven batters he faced. In the third, Hammer would get in to a bit of trouble after a fielding error by Nick Banman and a single by Chase Murray put a pair on. The duo would move into scoring positon after a sacrifice bunt, and a sacrifice fly plated the first of the game, giving Georgia Tech a 1-0 lead.
The next batter, Joey Bart, would single through the right side to score another, before Hammer would get Kel Johnson swinging to end the inning, with Georgia Tech up 2-0.
Hammer would retire the side in order in the fourth, making way for the Panthers to tie it up in the fifth after a messy inning in the field for the Yellow Jackets.
Manny Pazos would get the inning going with a double down the left field line. The catcher would score after Zach Zientarski attempted a sacrifice bunt, and the Georgia Tech pitcher Keyton Gibson threw the ball away. An infield single from Nico Popa and an error on the third baseman put the freshman on second, moving to third on a passed ball. A wild pitch would score Popa as the Panthers tied it at 2-2.
Georgia Tech would regain the lead in the bottom of the fifth, as a single and triple gave the Yellow Jackets a 3-2 advantage.
Hammer would retire the side in order in the sixth before getting in a jam in the seventh, allowing Georgia Tech to extend its lead to two runs. A double into left center and a single through the right side put men on the corners before a sacrifice fly would plate the runner, giving the Yellow Jackets a 4-2 lead.
Pitt got the run back in the eighth, cutting the Georgia Tech lead to one. Parry lead off with a walk, as the Panthers got runners on the corners after a single up the middle by Maldonado. A sacrifice fly by Banman plated Parry as Georgia Tech’s lead sat at 4-3.
Reliever Isaac Mattson was solid in the ninth, striking out the side after allowing a single and hit by pitch to put two Yellow Jacket runners on. The Panthers couldn’t get anything going in the ninth Georgia Tech closer Zac Ryan retire the side in order, giving the Yellow Jackets a 4-3 victory.
With the loss, Pitt falls to 21-23 (8-15 ACC) and the Yellow Jackets clinch a series victory. Hammer earns the loss, falling to 3-4 on the season. Offensively, Maldonado strung together the best performance, extending his hit streak to seven games, going 3-of-3. Banman had the team’s lone RBI off the sacrifice fly.
The two teams will close out the series tomorrow at 7 p.m. at Russ Chandler Stadium as part of the ACC Monday Night telecast.
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