Pitt Baseball and Softball Roundup from Saturday

PITTSBURGH – The Pitt baseball and softball teams were in action Saturday with baseball getting a win over Boston College and softball splitting a pair of games with Virginia.

BASEBALL

PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team earned its first ACC series victory of the season, claiming a 5-4 win over the Eagles of Boston College Saturday afternoon at Charles L. Cost Field.

“It was a very important series for us,” said head coach Joe Jordano. “Boston College has been playing very well. They went on the road and took two-of-three from North Carolina State to open the season and had a couple of tough games down at Clemson last weekend. It was a big series for us. After losing on Thursday, it’s really one of those things where, we had a great pitching performance by Aaron [Sandefur] and got another great performance from T.J. [Zeuch] and then a couple of freshmen on the back end there did a nice job. We needed that one. It puts us at 4-5-0 in the conference going into a very big series at Clemson this weekend.”

Coming off a masterful performance against Florida State in which he yielded no earned runs and one hit seven days ago, junior right-hander T.J. Zeuch allowed six hits with no walks to go with 11 strikeouts that would set the tone for a 5-4 win for Pitt (11-9, 4-5 ACC) over the Eagles (13-8, 3-6 ACC).

Zeuch surrendered his first earned run of the season in the third inning as a towering fly ball off the bat of Boston College third baseman Anthony Maselli gave the Eagles an early 1-0 lead. The Eagles had two opportunities in the second and third frames to build on their lead, but Zeuch worked his way out of two consecutive two-out jams with runners on second and third, both ending in swinging strikeouts to strand four runners.

In the fourth inning, the Eagles traded a hit for a run as Pitt shortstop Charles Leblanc toed home plate on a dribbler to third base off the bat of Pitt’s Alex Kowalczyk, tying the game at 1-1.

But Zeuch (1-0, 0.69 ERA) pieced together three clean ensuing innings to cap off a strong outing that impressed Jordano.

Pitt grabbed its first lead of the game in the seventh after stringing together a walk, stolen base and a Kowalczyk triple that ricocheted off the center field wall. David Yanni then brought home Kowalczyk on a sacrifice fly to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead that wound up being short-lived, as Boston College rallied in the top of the eighth with a pair of singles, two walks and a wild pitch off Pitt’s first bullpen option Isaac Mattson, that Boston College converted into two runs.

Yanni singled to open the bottom half of the eighth, and the Panthers then capitalized on two crucial errors by Boston College, giving them a lead they would hang onto for the rest of the afternoon.

Jordano summoned freshman righty Yaya Chentouf to the hill in the ninth after Boston College cut Pitt’s lead to 5-4, and Chentouf got the job done, sitting down all three batters he faced and earning a save to close the book on Pitt’s first ACC series win of the 2016 campaign.

“T.J. did a great job,” added the skipper. “He’s a veteran, he knows what he’s doing out there. It looked like he was rushing a little bit, getting out in front of himself. He’s got a live arm and a lot of movement on the ball. That creates a lot of swings and misses and obviously that one ball got out of here pretty quick but he did settle down. He gave us a chance, minimized opportunities and did a great job for us.

“I think we could have done a little better of a job at the plate but, once again, we were facing good arms. The first starter came into this game giving up one earned run. He had an ERA below 1.00. We knew we were going to be in for a tough battle at the plate. I thought we swung the bat, in a few situations, pretty well, just hit the ball at people. We were efficient. We got a couple of hits when we needed it and that was the difference in the game.”

The Panthers will be in action again on Wednesday when Kent State comes to Pittsburgh for a one-game standoff at Cost Field.

For tickets visit www.pittsburghpanthers.com/buytickets or call 800-643-7488.

Notes: T.J. Zeuch fanned 11 batters, marking the second consecutive outing to start the season in which he has struck out 10 or more … Pitt improves to 3-3 at home … the Panthers now move to 10-6 in day games and 4-3 in games played on turf … the Panthers improve to 2-0 when wearing gold jerseys and are 2-0 in one-run games … Pitt is now 6-6 against right-handed starting pitchers … Pitt improves to 10-2 when leading after six and 10-1 when leading after eight … the Panthers improve to 7-2 when scoring first and 6-4 when committing one or less errors … Pitt is now 3-4 in Saturday outings and 5-8 in the month of March.

SOFTBALL

PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh softball team split its doubleheader with ACC foe Virginia in a pair of home gamesSaturday afternoon at Vartabedian Field. After winning the first game, 11-3 in six innings, the Panthers fell to the Cavaliers 4-2 in the second tilt.

The performance on the afternoon saw Pitt [19-11, 3-6 ACC] drop the series to Virginia [11-23, 2-7 ACC] 2-1.

In the Panthers 11-3 win, Pitt posted four home runs, two of which were off the bat of sophomore McKayla Taylor. In the bottom of the fourth, freshman Olivia Gray led off the inning with a solo shot, while redshirt senior Maggie Sevilla and Taylor each added one of their own. Taylor crushed her second over the scoreboard in left field in the bottom of the sixth.

Taylor finished the day going 3-for-7 with two homeruns, two RBIs and three runs scored. She concluded the weekend with a .455 average after producing five hits in 11 at-bats.

On the mound, Kayla Harris earned the win for the Panthers in game one, while senior Jenna Modic earned the save as she held Virginia to no hits and fanned two batters to keep Pitt ahead.

On the weekend, Modic finished with a 2.33 ERA and six strikeouts in 12.0 innings pitched.

Game One: Pitt 11, Virginia 3 [Six Innings]
· Pitt took care of the Virginia Cavaliers in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader, 11-3.
· Harris earned the win on the mound, giving up three earned runs in 3.2 innings pitched. She was relieved of her duties in the top of the fifth by Modic, who gave up no runs through the remainder of the game.
· The Cavaliers took the lead in the first inning. Iyana Hughes reached base on a walk and proceeded to steal second base. A sacrifice bunt moved her over and a sacrifice fly from Kaitlin Fitzgerald drove her in to give Virginia the early 1-0 lead.
· Aided by two fielding errors from the Cavaliers, the Panthers were able to strike in the second inning. Modic and juniorKaitlin Manuel both reached one errors putting runners on second and third. Following a sub allowing Ashlee Sills to pinch run for Modic, sophomore Erin Hershman lined a ball to center field which drove in both runners and gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead.
· Virginia tied the game in the third inning. Aimee Chapdelaine led off with the single and then stole second base. After being moved over on a sacrifice, Chapdelaine scored after Allie Arneson beat out a throw from Taylor at short for an infield single.
· Pitt had a productive third inning when control issues plagued UVA pitcher Lacy Smith. After loading the bases courtesy of two hit batters, Modic hit a sacrifice fly to restore Pitt’s lead. Manuel was walked to drive in another run after sophomoreGiorgiana Zeremenko was intentionally walked to load the bases once again. With freshman Alexis Solak up at bat, a wild pitch scored Taylor. The Panthers led, 5-2.
· The Cavaliers cut the Panthers lead to 5-3 in the fourth inning after Kaitlin Fitzgerald singled to lead off the innings and scored on a single by Allison Davis.
· Pitt strung together runs for a third straight inning in the fourth to take an 8-3 lead, thanks to three solo shots. Gray, Sevilla and Taylor went yard in the 4th frame against Allison Davis, who relieved Smith.
· The Panthers extended their lead in the fifth thanks to a couple of singles. Solak placed one in left field and was then pinch ran for by senior Morgan Choe. Choe stole second base with one out and advanced to third on a groundout by Gray. Redshirt senior Shelby Pickett then drove Choe in to give Pitt a 9-3 lead.
· After holding UVA in the top of the sixth, Taylor led off the bottom half of the inning with a solo blast that cleared the scoreboard, which marked her second home run on the day. Modic followed that up with a single. After a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly, Manuel hit a ball up the middle to bring in Modic and give the Panthers the 11-3 victory in six innings.

Game Two: Pitt 2, Virginia 4
· The Panthers dropped game two of the doubleheader, 4-2, to lose the series 2-1.
· Modic pitched all seven innings and earned the loss.
· Virginia got on the board first, scoring one run in the top of the third inning, courtesy of a line drive solo home run from Davis.
· Pitt and UVA were both unable to score in the next three innings, as the Panthers stranded at least a single runner on base every inning.
· The Cavaliers put up three runs in the top half of the inning, thanks to a three-run blast by Iyana Hughes following a single and a walk.
· Pitt’s comeback fell short the team could only push across two final runs in the seventh. Hershman, who singled to start things off, was joined by Pickett on the bases after a fielding error by the second baseman. A passed ball moved Pickett to second, setting up runners in scoring position for Sevilla. Sevilla knocked a single through the right side scoring both Hershman and Pickett. However with two outs, Taylor popped up to short to end the game.

Up Next
· The Panthers will welcome St. Bonaventure to Vartabedian Field for a Wednesday afternoon doubleheader on March 30. First pitch is slated to begin at 3 p.m.


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