May 11, 2012
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – The Pitt baseball team scored six runs in the first inning on its way to a 7-4 win at Seton Hall on Friday night, moving into a tie with Villanova for the eighth and final playoff spot in the BIG EAST Tournament.
Villanova, which was up three games on Pitt just two weeks ago, dropped its series opener to visiting Cincinnati 5-2 on Friday.
Meanwhile, senior pitcher Matt Iannazzo turned in a gutsy effort for the Panthers, pitching 8.2 innings for his seventh win of the season. Just two of the four runs he allowed were earned, and he was an error on a potential game-ending play away from his second complete game of the season.
“I felt great; I was throwing all my pitches for strikes,” said Iannazzo, who struck out five and walked one. “I knew I needed to go deep into the game to save our bullpen for tomorrow. This is such a critical series, so I’m happy I could do that for my team.”
The bullpen was only needed for one out, which was done by Joe Harvey. With a runner in scoring position and the tying run in the on-deck circle, Harvey ended the game with a strikeout to earn his third save of the season.
The Panthers batted around in the first inning with six different players getting hits, including four for extra bases. Casey Roche had the big hit in the inning, driving in three runs with a triple. Rick Devereaux, Elvin Soto and Derik Wilson all had doubles in the inning.
Devereaux’s double drove in a run, giving him 54 RBI on the season. He leads the conference and is just two away from breaking into the top-10 on Pitt’s single-season record list.
“Jon Prosinski is one of the best in the league. For us to score that many runs early really set the tone for the game,” Jordano said.
The Panthers added just one more run in the game, but it was more than enough for Iannazzo. The seventh run came when Sam Parente scored on a single by Roche. An error was charged to the catcher, who dropped the ball attempting to make the tag.
Seton Hall entered the game with the best home record in the conference at 17-5.
Pitt (26-22, 9-13) has now won seven of its last nine games and is 5-2 in its last seven games against BIG EAST opponents. The Panthers will look to keep the momentum going when it wraps up the series against the Pirates with a doubleheader.
“We’re going to come out and play hard, as we have been the last couple of weeks. I feel good about it; they have a good frame of mind. I like Ethan Mildren and Matt Wotherspoon for us on the mound tomorrow,” Jordano said. “But keep in mind Seton Hall has one of the best pitching staffs in the conference. It’s going to be a great challenge and we’re looking forward to it.”