May 15, 2009
PITTSBURGH — The University of Pittsburgh baseball team rallied in the bottom of the ninth in game one of a doubleheader against West Virginia University to win 13-12, clinching a spot in the Big East Conference Championship Tournament to be held this coming week. The Panthers and Mountaineers split today’s games with Pitt taking the overall series two games to one.
Seniors Morgan Kielty, Matt Litzinger, Ricky Breymier, Chris Tonte and Chris Warner were all honored before game one in their final appearance at Trees Field.
Eight different Panthers recorded a hit and six had at least two in game one as Pitt was forced to rally in the ninth with Joe Leonard driving a bases-loaded single up the middle for the game winner. Chris Sedon tallied a game-high four RBI, going 2-for-5 and notching his 20th home run on the season in the bottom of the third. Breymier (3-0) picked up the win, entering in the eighth and allowing just one run and one hit in two innings of work.
Pitt picked up where they left off Thursday, putting up a three-spot on WVU in the bottom of the first. Tonte led off with a triple and scored on Leonard’s single through the left side to make it 1-0. Kevan Smith continued to straight dominate opposing pitchers, smashing a two-run Jonathan Jones offering over the center field wall. Smith finished the day 2-for-4 and pushed his hitting streak to 20 games, the longest by a Panther player in the past decade.
In the fourth, John Schultz’s sacrifice fly to left scored Kielty before Sedon’s homer made it 7-1 in favor of the Panthers.
West Virginia closed the gap to three at 7-4 in the third. Dan DiBartolomeo drew a bases loaded walk to plate the first run of the inning before Tobias Streich drove in two with a single up the middle.
The Panthers answered in the bottom of the fourth with RBI singles from Schultz, Leonard and Mercurio to build a 10-4 lead.
The Mountaineers put up five in the top of the seventh to knot the game at 11-11 on a two-run single from Justin Parks and a two-run triple by Austin Markel.
Kielty put Pitt back on top, 12-11, with an RBI double down the right field line, scoring Smith who had singled earlier in the inning.
Joe Agreste drew a leadoff walk while Colin Durborow was hit by a pitch and Parks singled to load to bases with no outs in the top of the ninth. Markel’s sacrifice fly to left tied the game at 12-12 before Breymier got Jedd Gyorko to pop up to second and Vince Belnome to groundout to end the inning.
Zach Duggan singled through the left side and Tonte walked to put Panther runners on first and second with no outs. Schultz’s sacrifice bunt advanced both runners before Sedon was intentionally walked as West Virginia tried to set up an inning-ending double play. Leonard would have none of that, driving a Chris Enourato pitch up the middle to score Duggan and punch Pitt’s ticket to the championship tournament.
In game two, West Virginia explosive offense came alive, scoring 16 runs over the span of three innings to take a commanding lead they would not relinquish.
David Kaye (3-4) was charged with the loss after allowing three runs and six hits over three innings of work.
The Panthers will be in action Tuesday, May 19, on the opening day of the Big East Championship Tournament at Brighthouse Field, spring training site of the Philadelphia Phillies. Seeding for the tournament will be announced following the conclusion of tomorrow’s Big East Conference games.
Live broadcasts of all games of the 2009 Big East Baseball Championship will be available on Sirius/XM radio. All games will be carried on XM channel 203 and will be available to Sirius subscribers who carry the ‘Best of XM’ package. In addition to radio broadcasts, all games leading up to the final, which be shown on ESPNU, will be streamed live exclusively on BIGEAST.tv. Monday’s opening ceremonies and home run derby, featuring Pitt’s Chris Sedon, will be streamed live for free at: http://www.bigeast.org/liveEvents/liveEvents.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=19400&KEY=&DB_OEM_ID=19400&DB_LANG=&IN_SUBSCRIBER_CONTENT