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Pitt Rolls Past Cincinnati, 13-4 at Big East Championship

Frank Mercurio was one of eight Panthers to record an RBI on the day in their 13-4 win over Cincinnati

Frank Mercurio was one of eight Panthers to record an RBI on the day in their 13-4 win over Cincinnati

May 27, 2010

Highlights | K. Smith Interview | Box Score

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The University of Pittsburgh baseball team picked up its first win at the Big East Championship since 2005, knocking off No. 7-seeded Cincinnati, 13-4, here today at Bright House Field.

"I was pleased with our approach at the plate today," said 13th year head coach Joe Jordano. "We got an outstanding start from Matty [Iannazzo] and we played clean defensively. Cincinnati is solid and we beat a good team today."

Matt Iannazzo (11-2) picked up his 11th win of the season, scattering 13 hits over seven and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs while striking out four. For the second straight day a Panther pitcher recorded a career-high in pitches thrown, with Iannazzo matching Corey Baker's 130 pitch count from yesterday.

Kevan Smith, David Chester, Travis Whitmore and Zach Duggan all had two RBI on the day. Smith finished the day 4-for-4 at the plate with a walk while Phil Konieczny chipped in, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. "We got off to a great start today and never lost our focus," added Jordano.

"We have to prepare for another challenge tomorrow. Our backs are to the wall and we have to fight hard to the end, but we will be ready."

After needing five innings to warm up in yesterday's 9-5 loss to Rutgers, the Pitt offense jumped on top of Cincinnati starting pitcher Dan Jensen early and often. The Panthers opened up a 7-0 lead after two at-bats, scoring three in the first and four in the second, nearly batting around the order in both innings.

Danny Lopez led off the game with a four-pitch walk and scored two batters later on Joe Leonard's RBI single off shortstop Chris Peters. After Smith singled through the left side, Chester ripped a double down the left field line, scoring Leonard and Smith.

The Bearcats were forced to turn to the pen early after Leonard walked and scored off Smith's double to left center to make it 4-0 in the second. Chester reached on an error by third baseman Kiley Jones and scored one batter later when Whitmore drilled a double to the gap in left center, bringing in both Leonard and Chester to make it 6-0.

Cory Brownsten's single through the left side brought in Whitmore and rounded out the scoring for Pitt in the second at 7-0.

Cincinnati got on the board with solo home runs from Braden Kline in the second and Kevin Johnson an inning later to cut the lead to 7-2 through three complete innings.

After a scoreless fourth, Pitt added one in the fifth off Duggan's sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Brownsten who had singled earlier in the inning. The Bearcats answered back in the bottom half of the inning with a run of their own when Jamel Scott singled, advanced to second on an Iannazzo balk and then scored on Chris Peters' single up the middle.

The Panthers then put the game out of reach after scoring three in the seventh and adding one in the eighth. Lopez drove in two with a double that screamed by a diving Jones at third and then scored for the second time on the day off Smith's RBI single to center in the seventh. Konieczny made it 12-3 in favor of the Panthers after he reached on a single to right field and then scored on Duggan's single to center.

The Bearcats' Beach Brooks hit Cincinnati's third solo home run of the day off Iannazzo in the bottom of the eighth to bring the score to 12-4. Jamel Scott doubled to right field and Peters walked before Pitt turned to the pen. Jeff Kelly came in and was able to get Jimmy Jacquot to fly out to right to end the threat.

Frank Mercurio pinch hit in the Panther ninth, singling in Schultz to increase the lead to 13-4 before Kelly returned in the bottom half to retire three straight batters, securing the win for Pitt.

Pitt will face the loser of the Connecticut vs. Rutgers game. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. tomorrow at Bright House Field.