After a disappointing opener on Friday in suffering a no-hitter against No. 1 Virginia, Pitt bounced back to win Game 2 on Saturday. The Panthers won 2-1 in dramatic fashion in the ninth inning to even up the series, handing the Cavaliers only their fifth loss on the season.
Pitt held a 1-0 lead as starter Joe Harvey was turning in another dominant outing. He ran into a little trouble in the seventh with a runner on third. Shortstop Dylan Wolsonovich bobbled a grounder when he could have easily thrown the runner at home. Missing that opportunity, he went to first, but threw the ball away, tying up the game. He was only charged with one error, but you could make a strong case that he should have had two there with the bobble and errant throw. Fortunately, Harvey was able to get out of the inning unscathed leaving the game tied.
Reliever Hobie Harris came on for Pitt in the eighth in place of Harvey and he was impressive, striking out two and retiring the side in order. After the Panthers failed to score in the bottom of the inning, Harris again retired the Cavaliers in order in the ninth, setting up the walk off victory.
Boo Vasquez, the team's best power hitter so far this season (a team-high five home runs), led things off with a walk. Preseason All-American Casey Roche came on and was plunked in the head putting runners at first and second with no outs. After a sacrifice bunt by Eric Hess moving them over , Virginia intentionally walked Nick Yarnell to load the bases. With one out, Jordan Frabasilio hit a sacrifice fly to deep center field to score a run and give Pitt the win.
That really accomplished quite a few things. First, it takes some of the sting off of the no-hitter from yesterday. It also gives the team another much-needed conference victory. Third, when you consider that the Cavaliers are ranked No. 1 and 26-5 on the year, it's about as big of a win as you can score. Winning these kinds of games just does all sorts of things for the program and recruiting. Bigger than all of that is that it gives the Panthers a chance to win the series - something that many people would have thought would be improbable.
I've talked quite a bit about what Harvey has done lately, but he really just turned in another fantastic performance. On Saturday, he went seven innings, allowing only two hits. The one run Virginia scored was unearned due to the Wolsonovich error. He continues to show that he's not only worthy of receiving that starting spot in the rotation but that he may be the team's best pitcher.
And while I'm throwing props out there, some have to go to Harris the reliever, too. He's having an incredible season with a team-low 2.10 ERA coming into Saturday and adds another scoreless performance to his resume with his two innings today.
Also, great to see a nice crowd there - a sellout one, actually:
The victory puts Pitt (16-14) two games over .500 and also two games over .500 in the conference (8-6). Game 3 will be on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.