April 6, 2014
PITTSBURGH - The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (16-15, 8-7 ACC) fell to No. 1 Virginia (27-5, 11-4 ACC), 1-0, Sunday afternoon at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Brandon Waddell earned the victory after tossing eight shutout frames for the Cavaliers. Matt Wotherspoon (SR/Mountain Top, Pa.) was the unfortunate recipient of the loss, allowing only one run over seven strong innings of work. Nick Howard picked up his conference-leading ninth save of the season with a perfect ninth.
“I thought it was a well played game today,” head coach Joe Jordano said. “Virginia proved why they’re the number one team in the country. They pitched well, played great defense and had 3 RBIs with two outs and that’s the difference in the game. We had a couple of opportunities and didn’t take advantage of them today. Matt Wotherspoon pitched really well and I thought he did a great job. Conversely, we didn’t do enough offensively to push anything across. It was great to beat them yesterday and we weren’t satisfied with just one win, unfortunately we didn’t do enough today to get it done.”
Matt Wotherspoon (SR/Mountain Top, Pa.) and Brandon Waddell traded three straight shutout frames to open the game, but it was in the top of the fourth when Virginia produced its first run of the day. Mike Papi sparked the Cavaliers’ at-bat with a one-out double off the right field wall and was held at second when Joe McCarthy flew out to Boo Vazquez (JR/Youngstown, Ohio) in left field. However, one batter later Howard roped a single through the left side of the infield to score Papi, 1-0.
Pitt relied on some good, old-fashioned small ball to put itself in a position to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth. Stephen Vranka (SR/Monroeville, Pa.) led off the inning with an infield single to shortstop and advanced into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Dylan Wolsonovich (SO/Ford City, Pa.). Vranka then made his way to third base after tagging up on a Casey Roche (SR/Downingtown, Pa.) fly ball to right, but Daniel Pinero brought down a two-out Vazquez line drive to short keep the Panthers’ deficit at one run.
A one-out hit by pitch against Brandon Downes welcomed Virginia’s turn at the plate in the top of the seventh inning. Following Downes’ swipe of second base, Wotherspoon issued a walk to Nate Irving to put two runners on for the Cavaliers. The pair of insurance runs would be left stranded at first and second when Kenny Towns fouled out to Manny Pazos (FR/Miami, Fla.) at the plate and John La Prise grounded out to Matt Johnson (JR/Plano, Texas) at second base.
Hobie Harris (JR/McKinney, Texas) entered the game in relief of Wotherspoon in the top of the eighth to make his second appearance in as many days. Harris retired the side in order to carry Pitt into the home half of the inning down by a single run.
McCarthy led off the top of the ninth with a four-pitch walk and made his way to second base following a successful sacrifice bunt by Howard. Downes then delivered an RBI double to right center to put the Cavaliers on top by two at a 2-0 score.
Following Downes’ two-bagger, Harris was lifted in favor of Jon Danielczyk (SR/Erie, Pa.) on the mound. The sidewinding senior allowed a base knock to right field by Irving to put runners on the corners and then La Prise singled up the middle to score Downes, 3-0.
Howard struck out Johnson and Nick Yarnall (FR/Landisville, Pa.) and induced a ground ball out put in play by Vranka to preserve Virginia’s shutout victory.
The Panthers return to action on Tuesday, April 8 at 6 p.m. when they host Akron in a non-conference match-up at Charles L. Cost Field.
For more information on Pitt baseball, follow the media relations Twitter account at @PittBaseballACC and the coaching staff at @PITTBASEBALL.
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