Pitt Baseball/Softball Roundup: Panthers Baseball 1-1 vs. Visiting Notre Dame; Softball Falls to Louisville

PITTSBURGH – A walk off down the left-field line off the bat of Manny Pazos in the 12th lifted the University of Pittsburgh baseball team to a 2-1 victory in the second game of a doubleheader Sunday evening at Charles L. Cost Field.

With the bases juiced, Pazos sent a shot past the diving glove of the Notre Dame’s third baseman to score Frank Maldonado and give the Panthers their first ACC victory of the season.

The game was the second of an extra-inning doubleheader that saw the two teams play 23 innings in two contests at Cost Field. The Fighting Irish opened the day with a 4-3 decision in an 11-innning showdown before the Panthers evened the day in game two.

Game One
Notre Dame started hot early in the first game, plating a run in the first frame to jump out to a 1-0 lead. Kyle Fiala would single up the middle with one out, moving to third on a double off the bat of Nick Podkul. Fiala would cross the plate on a passed ball before a walk and double play would end the inning.

The Fighting Irish extended their lead to 2-0 in the fourth as Matt Vierling doubled to right center to get things going for the visitors. Vierling would move to third on a sacrifice bunt before a wild pitch scored the runner.

In the bottom of the fifth, Pitt would get on the board when Nick Banman converted a one-out, full-count situation into a double in right. Alex Amos would reach on an error by the second baseman, allowing Banman to score and cutting the Notre Dame lead to 2-1.

The Panthers tied it up in the bottom of the ninth thanks to some clutch hitting by shortstop P.J. DeMeo. With one out, Maldonado took a pitch off the knee and moved to third when Caleb Parry singled to center. With runners on the corners, DeMeo doubled into right, scoring Maldonado and tying the game at 2-2.

The game would find its way to the 11th when Notre Dame plated a pair to take a 4-2 lead. A leadoff double put a man on second, as he’d move to third on a groundout. A single from Jake Shepski scored the first runner as the Fighting Irish went up by one. They’d add an insurance run off a double from Johnson and took a 4-2 lead into the bottom of the frame.

The Panthers would keep in it in the bottom, a Jacob Wright led off with a double to right center. Maldonado would ground out to Move Jacob Wright to third and a single up the middle from Caleb Parry would cut the Notre Dame lead to 4-3. DeMeo would hit into a double play to end the game as the Panthers fell 4-3.

With the loss, Pitt fell to 7-9, 0-4 in the ACC. Pitt starter Matt Pidich earned a no decision, tossing 6.2 innings, surrendering six hits, two runs, one earned run and four walks, striking out three. Reliever Sam Mersing fell to 0-1 on the season, going 4.1 innings, allowing two earned runs off six hits, striking out four.

Offensively, Wright led the way, going 2-5 with a run scored. Both Parry and DeMeo also went 2-5 with an RBI.

Game Two
The second game of the day saw the fortune turn in the Panthers favor as Pitt captured its first ACC victory of the season with a 2-1 12-inning win.

Pitt struck first in the second, generating a flurry of offense with two outs. Pazos got things started as a two-error play by the Notre Dame fielders allowing the catcher to reach third. Alex Amos would single up the middle to score Pazos as Pitt went up 1-0.

It would be a pitchers’ duel for the majority of the contest as both hurlers shut things down until Notre Dame would plate one in the ninth. Back-to-back singles and an error on reliever scored a run as the Fighting Irish tied it in the ninth.

Both Pitt and Notre Dame’s relievers would shut it down to open extras, but Pitt managed to get some offensive momentum in the 12th. Maldonado led off with a single to right field and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Parry. Walks to DeMeo and Banman loaded the bases for Pazos, who singled down the left field line to send the Panthers to a victory.

With the win, Pitt moves to 8-9, 1-4 in the ACC. RJ Freure would earn the victory, moving to 4-1 on the season. Freure tossed 4.0 innings, allowing one hit and one walk, striking out six. Starter Josh Falk was stellar, tossing 8.0 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and three walks, striking out six.

Offensively, Maldonado led the way, going 3-5 with a run scored. Amos posted a 2-4 performance, adding an RBI and a walk, while Parry went 2-5.

The Panthers return to action Tuesday, traveling to Kent State for a mid-week tilt with the Golden Flashes. ACC play will resume the following weekend as Virginia Tech visits Charles L. Cost Field for a three-game homestand.

SOFTBALL FALLS TO LOUISVILLE

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Pittsburgh softball team fell to Louisville 8-2 in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Ulmer Stadium in Louisville, Ky.

The Panthers [14-11, 0-6 ACC] tallied just four hits against the Cards [18-7, 3-0 ACC] in its final game of the weekend. Pitt’s lone senior Kaitlin Manuel went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while freshman Hannah Edwards and junior Giorgiana Zeremenko also recorded hits.

Freshman Brittany Knight tossed every inning for Pitt, giving up 10 hits, eight runs, seven unearned, and one walk.

HOW IT HAPPENED
Following two scoreless innings that saw no hits and six straight outs by both teams, Louisville struck first in the bottom of the third, scoring three runs on five hits and an error.

Pitt cut the Cards’ lead to one after scoring a pair in the top of the fourth. A bunt single by Edwards, a free pass for sophomore Olivia Gray and a single by Zeremenko set up bases loaded for Manuel. The senior sent a ball to the gap, allowing Edwards to score. Gray also touched home as freshman Valerie Ortega grounded out to the right side.

The Cards recorded another run in the bottom of the fourth to take a 4-2 lead, before adding four more in the sixth to lock up the sweep. The Panthers had just one hit in the final three innings of play.

UP NEXT
Pitt will begin a five-game homestand following the Louisville series. The Panthers will open at Vartabedian Field Wednesday, March 22 against non-conference foe Kent State, before welcoming Boston College to Pittsburgh for the first home conference series March 24-26. Pitt will conclude its homestand March 29 with a single game versus in-state rival Penn State.


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