May 10, 2009
STORRS, Conn. — The University of Pittsburgh baseball team dropped its second straight Big East Conference game to the University of Connecticut, falling 8-5 here today at J.O. Christian Field in Storrs, Conn.
David Kaye was charged with the loss after giving up nine hits and six runs – five earned – in six innings of work. Chris Tonte finished 3-for-4 at the plate with a game-high three RBI while Kevan Smith extended his hitting streak to 18 straight games with a single to right center in the second inning.
Connecticut (29-22, 12-12 Big East) jumped out to a 5-0 lead after three innings of play. George Springer hit his first of two home runs on the day to lead off the bottom of the second and jumpstart the Huskies four-run inning. Pete Fatse then doubled to left center and scored on a Mike Olt single down the right-field line to make it 2-0 UConn. A Harold Brantley bunt single scored Olt before Pierre LaPage’s groundout to first allowed Joe Pavone to score from third, rounding out the inning.
In the third, Connecticut increased its lead to 5-0 with a sacrifice fly from Matt Burnett, scoring Springer who had singled to start the inning.
The Pitt (26-18, 11-12 Big East) offense awoke in the fifth, scoring two to cut the lead to three at 5-2. Joe Leonard doubled to start the inning and Matt Litzinger drew a walk to put Panthers on first and second with no outs. After Nathan Hood struck out swinging, Zach Duggan’s groundout to third allowed both base runners to advance. Tonte then singled through the left side, scoring both Leonard and Litzinger.
UConn added one in the sixth off a Pavone base hit to right center, bringing the score to 6-2.
Litzinger and Hood each singled in the seventh to put runners to put runners on first and second. Tonte picked up his third RBI of the game, turning Matt McDonald’s first-pitch offering in to a double. A failed pickoff attempt from McDonald allowed Hood to score and cut the lead to two at 6-4.
The Huskies increased the lead to 8-4 in the seventh and eighth thanks to Springer’s second home run of the game, a solo shot to center field off relief pitcher Kevin Dooley in the seventh and an RBI single from LaPage in the eighth.
Pitt’s ninth-inning comeback attempt started off with a solo home run from Leonard to make it 8-5, but that was as close as the Panthers would come. David Erickson entered in relief and got Litzinger to fly out to center field before Hood struck out swinging and Duggan grounded out to short to end the game.
The Panthers enter the final week of regular-season play this week, hosting archrival West Virginia University May 14-16. First pitch for Thursday night’s game is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Trees Field.