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May 7, 2012

PITTSBURGH--The University of Pittsburgh baseball team will host Akron in a 3 p.m. non-conference matchup on Tuesday at Charles L. Cost Field at the Petersen Sports Complex.  The Panthers enter midweek play after taking two out of three games in a conference series against Rutgers this past weekend in Piscataway, N.J.

Pitt has won four of its last five games, and has recorded back-to-back series wins against Georgetown and the Scarlet Knights.  With outstanding pitching performances and standout offensive production, the Panthers have put together a handful of strong outings to improve all hopes for postseason baseball as the final stretch of the regular season gets underway.

On March 10, Pitt first met the Zips in Port Charlotte, Fla. during the Snowball Classic, where they lost 12-4.  Traveling to Akron, Ohio for the second game of the season series, the Panthers walked away with a 9-5 victory.  Pitt defeated Akron 3-2 on April 18 in Pittsburgh, Pa.--their most recent contest.  Tuesday will be the last of four games scheduled between the two teams this season.

Probable Pitching

PITT--LHP Alex Caravella (2-5, 5.08 ERA) vs. AKRON--TBA

Pittsburgh Panthers (24-22, 8-13 Big East)

The Panthers are among the Big East's top-five in batting average (.289), slugging percentage (.401), and on-base percentage (.380), and are scoring 5.70 runs per game.  Pitt has a team ERA of 4.61 and it has recorded 313 strikeouts in comparison to just 128 walks.  The Panthers are also one of the best defensive teams in the conference, and enter midweek play with a .970 fielding percentage.

Rick Devereaux was outstanding against Rutgers this past weekend, collecting hits in every game of the series.  Devereaux went 7-10 with 3 RBI over the weekend to improve his batting average to .370.  He has 70 hits on the season, including 14 doubles, one triple, seven home runs, and 51 RBI.

Anthony Defabio is leading the Panthers in runs scored (47) and on-base percentage (.463 OBP).  Defabio is batting .333 with 16 doubles, two triples, four home runs, and 28 RBI.

Stephen Vranka, who is second on the team in hits (51), is batting .283 with 11 doubles, four triples, and nine stolen bases.  Also, Sam Parente, who went 1-4 with two RBI in Sunday's win over the Scarlet Knights, is batting .317 with 17 RBI.  Casey Roche, second on the team in RBI (38), has a .311 batting average and a .411 on-base percentage.  Evan Oswald is batting .314 with 15 RBI and a .420 on-base percentage.

Akron Zips (17-30, 10-11 Mid-American)

The Zips have lost seven of their last 10 games.  They enter the week after having been swept by Miami (Ohio) in three games, contributing to their current five-game losing streak.  Akron is 5-19 on the road this season, and is batting .261 with a .336 on-base percentage while scoring 4.34 runs per game.  With regards to pitching, the Zips hold a 4.97 team ERA, a .282 batting average against, and have recorded 247 strikeouts and have allowed 204 bases on balls.

At the plate, Akron is led by sophomore infielder Tyler Begun.  Begun leads the team in both hits (50) and on-base percentage (.419), and is batting .305 with 11 doubles, four triples, five home runs, and 22 RBI.  He is second on the team in runs scored (27).

Redshirt freshman outfielder Devan Ahart has been a prominent offensive contributor for the Zips.  Ahart leads the team with 29 runs scored and is second overall in hits (49).  He is batting .255 with nine extra-base hits, 18 RBI, and 13 stolen bases.  Also, junior first baseman Sam Trecaso has been playing well for Akron.  He has a .279 batting average with 48 hits, 23 runs scored, seven extra-base hits, and 24 RBI.

Panthers Set to Host Zips at 3 p.m. on Tuesday

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