In a much needed changing of fortunes, the Pittsburgh Panthers' baseball team won their first road Atlantic Coastal Conference series, bouncing back from a disappointing 3-2 loss on Friday by winning the next two match-ups 5-4 and 16-10 respectively.
The three-game set could have very well been a sweep, as Pitt was in control late in the first contest on Friday afternoon. After falling behind 1-0 when Boston College center fielder Tom Bourdon lofted a sac fly in the bottom of the fourth inning, the Panthers took the lead in the bottom of the eighth, thanks to an RBI triple by Stephen Vranka and an RBI single by Roche.
However, Pittsburgh would blow the lead in the bottom of the ninth, as reliever Hobie Harris first surrendered the game-tying RBI single to shortstop Joe Cronin, and then the walk-off single to left fielder Chris Shaw, with the game ending as a 4-3 Panther loss.
Pitt rebounded nicely in another closely contested matchup Saturday. It was a back and forth matchup, with multiple lead changes and ties. The run that made the difference came in the top of the seventh, when Steve Shelinsky delivered a bases-loaded sacrifice fly, giving Pitt a 5-4 lead that they would not relinquish, thanks in large part to the work of freshman TJ Zeuch, who tossed 3.1 innings of relief, surrendering no hits and striking out four en route to his second career win.
The rubber match of the series proved to be the wildest contest, as Panthers' starting pitcher Matt Wotherspoon was shellacked early on, allowing eight runs– only three being earned– in just 1.2 innings of work, leaving Pitt trailing 8-0 after two innings.
But, thanks to the spark provided by a six-run third inning, the Panthers proceeded to score 16 runs between the third and sixth inning, shocking the Eagles and winning handily 16-10. The comeback was sparked by the top of Pitt's lineup, as Vranka, Boo Vazquez, Roche, Shelinsky, and Eric Hess combined to go 12-25 in the game while driving in 10 of the 16 runs.
Casey Roche, the senior pre-season All-American, had a tremendous series, going 6-14 with four runs batted in, while Stephen Vranka tallied five hits and scored seven runs in the set.
Pitt stands only 21-24 on the season, but is on a bit of a roll lately. The Panthers have won their last two series and at least have some momentum.
The Panthers will have one mid-week game on Wednesday, traveling out of state to take on the Ohio Bobcats in Athens, Ohio, before opening up a three game home series against the Maryland Terrapins at Charles L. Cost Field.
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