May 12, 2012
SOUTH ORANGE, N.J. – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team made two solid comeback attempts, but came up just short in a pair of losses at Seton Hall on Saturday.
The Panthers (26-24, 9-15 BIG EAST) trailed 4-1 entering the final inning of both games. In the first contest they loaded the bases with one out before hitting into a game-ending double play. In the second game they scored twice and got the game-tying run to third base with two outs, but were unable to get the runner home in a 4-3 loss.
“From our perspective we were in a must-win situation and came up a little short. But I was very pleased with how hard our team played,” said Pitt head coach Joe Jordano. “To come out here and play 18 innings with basically the same teams is tough, and our kids fought to that last out.”
Both of Pitt’s starters – Ethan Mildren in the first game and Matt Wotherspoon in the second game – pitched well in losing efforts.
Mildren struck out five and walked none, while giving up just two earned runs in six innings of work. It was the fourth time this season he didn’t allow a walk in an outing of six innings or more.
Wotherspoon gave up three earned runs, but was able to register 10 strikeouts. It was the second game this season the sophomore struck out double-digit batters. Earlier this year, he put 13 hitters down on strikes in a complete game win over Michigan State.
But the Seton Hall pitchers were impressive, too, tallying 24 strikeouts in the two games combined. Freshman reliever Jose Lopez had 12 in seven innings, while picking up the win in the second game.
The Panthers finally did figure Lopez out in the final inning, scoring two runs. Casey Roche and Boo Vazquez both smashed doubles to the warning track, Roche’s to left-center and Vazquez’s to center. Roche’s double drove in Mike Douglas, who pinch-ran for Sam Parente, and Vazquez drove in Roche.
“It was two tough ballgames. Both Seton Hall pitchers did a very nice job, as did ours. I thought Mildren did a solid job for us and I thought Wotherspoon did a great job, as well,” Jordano said.
Boo Vazquez had a good day at the plate for Pitt, going 4-7 in the two games to raise his season average to .309. Six of the Panthers nine regulars in the lineup now have averages higher than .300.
The Panthers will travel to Youngstown State on Tuesday before hosting nationally-ranked Louisville for a three-game series on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.