Center fielder Herr Talks About His Walk-Off Homerun Coach Jordano Talks About Win Over Rutgers
PITTSBURGH-Pitt center fielder Jordan Herr launched a solo, walk-off homerun in the bottom of the tenth inning to break a 9-9 tie as the Pitt baseball team (25-23, 14-9 Big East) defeated Big East leader Rutgers Sunday at Trees Field.
Rutgers (33-17, 18-6) pulled ahead early, scoring four in the second inning, with help from catcher Frank Meade's two-run homer. The Panthers responded quickly, tying the game at four in the bottom of the third.
Right fielder Peter Parise (SR/Bronx, N.Y./Cardinal Spellman) singled, driving in shortstop Danny Lopez (FR/Queens, N.Y./Monsignor McClancy) for Pitt's first run of the game. Left fielder Sean Conley (JR/Chippewa, Pa./Blackhawk), who had drawn a one-out walk, scored on an error by the Scarlet Knight's third baseman, cutting Rutgers' lead in half 4-2.
Parise came home on a wild pitch thrown by starter Matt Giannini, while Dan Williams (JR/Berwyn, Pa./Episcopal Academy) drove first baseman Seth Button (SR/Elk Lake, Pa./Gloucester College) in for the game-tying run off reliever Kevin Lillis.
Pitt starter Nate Reed (FR/Reading, Pa./Oley Valley) and the Panther defense quieted the Scarlet Knights' bats, as Rutgers was unable to produce a run through the seventh inning. Pitt, however, added five more through the seventh to take a 9-4 lead.
Conley drove a deep, sac-fly ball to right field in the bottom of the fourth, bringing home Herr (RS FR/Lancaster, Pa./Delaware) to give Pitt its first lead of the game. It was Herr who then ripped a two-RBI-single in the fifth to move the score to 7-4.
The Panthers added two more in the seventh to expand their lead to 9-4. Williams notched a lead-off single, his third of the game, and was brought home on a one-out double from catcher Nick Mullins (JR/Brick, N.J./Brookdale Community College). Mullins then stole home as Lopez distracted the Rutgers' defense in a run-down between first and second.
The Scarlet Knights fought back, however, just as they had in Friday night's contest, scoring one in the eighth and two more in the ninth off Pitt reliever Mike Wood (FR/Endicott, N.Y./Union Endicott) to cut the Panthers' lead to 9-7.
Parise came out of right field to take the mound with one on and one out in the ninth. With the count at 2-2, Meade tallied his second longball of the game, tying the score 9-9. Parise drew groundouts from the next two batters, but Pitt was unable to produce any base runners in the bottom of the ninth, sending the game into extra-innings.
In the top of the tenth, Conley kept Rutgers off the board as he gunned a runner at home from left field for the third out of the inning. With the game still even at nine, leadoff batter Herr launched the first pitch he saw from reliever Chris Lillis into deep, left-center, giving Pitt the 10-9 win.
Parise (2-1) picked up the win for the Panthers, going 1.2 innings, while Chris Lillis (3-3) got the lost. With the victory, the Panthers have joined Rutgers, St. John's and Louisville with bids to the conference championships to begin May 22, at KeySpan Park in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Pitt will be back in action on Tuesday as it travels to Cleveland State before hosting Kent State on Wednesday at Consol Energy Park, home of the Washington Wild Things in Washington, Pa. for a 7:05 p.m. game. The Panthers will then conclude their 2007 regular season by hosting Big East opponent Seton Hall in a three game series at Tress Field May 17-19.
NOTES: Danny Lopez went 3-3 on the day with three singles and one run-scored, while Jordan Herr and Dan Williams tallied three hits apiece as well. Herr's homerun was his fourth of the season. Pitt is now 2-1 in extra-inning contests in 2007.