May 16, 2010
CINCINNATI, Ohio — The University of Pittsburgh baseball team dropped the final game of its weekend series with the University of Cincinnati, 3-1, here today at Marge Schott Stadium. The Bearcats rallied to break a 1-1 tie in the eighth, and hold on in the ninth, avoiding the sweep.
Pitt (36-14, 17-6 Big East) lost for just the sixth time this season in Big East Conference action. The Panthers were held to their lowest run output of the season in the loss. Cincinnati (26-27, 10-14 Big East) kept their postseason hopes alive, picking up their 10th win in conference play.
Alex Caravella threw 81 pitches over seven innings in his third start of the season, giving up just five hits and one run while striking out four in the no decision. J.R. Leonardi (3-4) was charged with the loss after throwing one inning of relief, giving up two runs on two hits.
Caravella gave up leadoff singles in both the first and second innings, but was able to work his way out behind a pair of stellar defensive plays to end both innings. Zach Duggan made a diving catch in center field to get out of the first and David Chester turned a 3-6 double play to end the second.
Caravella worked a three-up, three-down third and fourth for the Panthers before running into slight trouble in the Cincinnati fifth. After freezing Kendal Coleman on a called third strike and getting Braden Kline to groundout, the Bearcats reeled off back-to-back singles to put runners at first and second before Travis Whitmore fielded Jamel Scott’s grounder up the middle and stepped on second for the force out to end the inning.
Bearcat starting pitcher Andrew Strenge cruised through the first five innings, striking out six along the way before Pitt was finally able to get on the board in the sixth. John Schultz doubled off the wall in left center and advanced to third on a Joe Leonard groundout to short. Chester reached on a throwing error by shortstop Chris Peters and Schultz scored to give Pitt the 1-0 lead.
Caravella got the first two outs in the Cincinnati sixth before Jimmy Jacquot sent a 0-1 offering over the wall in left-center field, knotting the game up at 1-1 after six complete innings.
Whitmore led off the Panther seventh with a single and stole second, but Strenge struck out both Phil Konieczny and Duggan after getting Cory Brownsten to fly out to left field to end the threat.
Coleman was rung up for the second time on the day to start the bottom of the seventh before Caravella issued his second walk of the afternoon to Kline. Kevin Johnson reached on a fielder’s choice before Kiley Jones flew out to right to end the inning.
Leonardi came on in the eighth, picking up two quick outs before giving up a single to T.J. Jones and walking Jacquot to put the Bearcats in scoring position. Justin Riddell’s double off the center-field wall cleared the bags and gave Cincinnati its first lead of the series at 3-1 heading into the ninth.
Pitt could not manage to get anything going in the top of the ninth as Chester struck out swinging and Kevan Smith popped out to second before Brownsten struck out to end the game.
The Panthers will be in action for their last mid-week non-conference game of the season as they travel to Columbus, Ohio for a 12:05 p.m. game against Ohio State.