May 15, 2014
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Despite a complete game effort from freshman pitcher T.J. Zeuch, the University of Pittsburgh baseball team (22-28, 11-17 ACC) dropped a 3-0 decision to Notre Dame (20-31, 7-21 ACC) on Thursday evening at Frank Eck Stadium.
Zeuch (2-6, 2.75 ERA) matched a career-high by throwing 8.0 innings. He allowed seven hits and one earned run while striking out five Notre Dame batters. The Panthers collected five hits on the evening, led by Matt Johnson who was 2-for-3 with a walk.
With one out in the bottom of the second inning, Zeuch struck out Notre Dame catcher Forrest Johnson, but Johnson would reach base on a passed ball. After a wild pitch moved him to second with two outs, Johnson scored when right fielder Casey Roche lost a fly ball in the sun from Phil Mosey and was charged with a fielding error. Mosey was then driven home from second base by the Irish nine hitter Kyle Richardson one batter later for a 2-0 Notre Dame lead.
The Panthers had runners in scoring position in both the seventh and eighth innings, but they especially missed an opportunity to score in the eighth after Notre Dame starting pitcher Pat Connaughton (3-5, 3.92 ERA) walked Stephen Vranka and Boo Vazquez to open the frame.
Connaughton would be replaced by reliever Donnie Hissa with no outs and Hissa got Roche to ground into a double play and then struck out Nick Yarnall to end the inning which left Vranka stranded on third. Pitt left eight runners on base for the game.
After Notre Dame scored those two runs in the second inning, Zeuch looked nearly untouchable for the next five innings as he retired 15 of the next 18 batters he faced. However, Notre Dame tallied three hits in the bottom of the eighth inning, including an RBI single from Johnson, to gain a 3-0 lead.
Pitt freshman Caleb Parry would gather a two out single in the top of the ninth inning, but Hissa earned his fourth save of the season by striking out Matt Johnson to end the game.
The Panthers and the Fighting Irish will play game two of their three game series on Friday evening at 5:35 p.m. Click here to watch a live stream of the game and to follow live stats.
Tournament Update: NC State at Virginia Tech was rained out today and the two teams will play a doubleheader tomorrow in Blacksburg. The loss today for Pitt moved NC State a half-game ahead of the Panthers for the final ACC Tournament spot.