PITTSBURGH - A wild pitch in the 10th inning proved the difference maker for the University of Pittsburgh, as the Panthers captured a 3-2 win over Youngstown State Wednesday afternoon.
With the bases loaded and one out in the 10th, Youngstown State pitcher Dion Felger sent a pitch past the glove of his catcher, allowing pinch runner Frank Maldonado to score and lifting the Panthers to a 3-2 victory.
"Any time you can get a win and talk about it afterwards is a pretty good thing," said head coach Joe Jordano. "We knew Youngstown State coming in was going to be a very scrappy team. I have a lot of respect for head coach Dan Bertolini. I've known him for a long time and knew he was going to do a good job there. Youngstown State has had some big wins. I told our guys coming in that they are going to swing the bats, and do a lot of things well. It was tough getting our timing down when faced with several different pitchers. We found enough in that last inning."
Pitt starter Matt Pidich allowed a pair of singles in the opening frame as the Penguins threatened early, putting a runner in scoring position with just one out. After a steal moved both into scoring position, Pidich would strike out Nico Padovan looking to end the frame.
Youngstown State would get on the board in the second, however, plating a run to jump out to the early lead. After a leadoff double and a one-out single, a ground out to Nick Banman put the Penguins up 1-0.
The Panthers took the lead in the fourth with a two-run inning. Alex Amos was struck by his first of two pitching in the game to lead off, scoring on a well-hit double off the bat of Caleb Parry. Youngstown State called on the bullpen, as Parry moved to third on a ground out by Banman. Manny Pazos put down a sacrifice bunt in his next at bat to score Parry, giving the Panthers a 2-1 lead.
The lead didn't last long, however as the Penguins tied it up in the top of the fifth. After a two-out single, and a stolen base, Lorenzo Arcuri would steal third and score on a throw by Pazos that skipped off Banman's glove and into left field.
That would be the only offense either team could muster until the 10th, as the two teams used nine combined pitchers over the final five frames. In the 10th, Alex Griffith drew a pinch hit walk, as Jordano called upon Maldonado as the pinch runner. A sacrifice bunt by Popa moved Maldonado to second before Jacob Wright was hit by a pitch to put men on first and second with just one out for Amos, who would load the bases with a full-count walk. Maldonado would come around with Parry at bat, as a wild pitch skirted past the Youngstown State catcher and gave the Panthers the victory.
The win is the fifth straight in non-conference action for the Panthers, who improve to 22-24 on the season. Reliever TJ Pagan earned the decision, his first career victory as a Panther, tossing an inning of scoreless ball, striking out a pair and allowing just one hit. Offensively, Youngstown State out-hit the Panthers, as six Pitt batters recorded a hit, with Parry and Pazos contributing the lone RBIs.
Pitt will return to action this weekend, hosting NC State in the final ACC home weekend of the season. Things are set to get underway at 6 p.m. on Friday at Charles L. Cost Field, with game two set for 6 p.m. on Saturday and game three at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
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