Pitt Baseball Comeback Falls Short in Loss at Miami (Fla.)

MIAMI – A ninth inning comeback was stopped short for the University of Pittsburgh baseball team as the Panthers fell to No. 4 Miami by a score of 7-6 in the series opener Friday night at Alex Rodriguez Park.

(Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics)

Trailing by three in the bottom of the ninth, Pitt posted a pair of runs off of RBI singles from David Yanni and Caleb Parry. Despite the comeback, the Panthers fell just short of tying things up as they fell to the Coastal Division leaders by a score of 7-6.

Pitt struck first in the second inning as Alex Kowalczyk sent a solo shot over the wall in left-center to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead.

T.J. Zeuch would face a bit of trouble in the bottom of the frame as the Hurricanes recorded three runs off of four hits to take a 3-1 advantage. A double and single would put two runners on with no outs before Willie Abreu send a double down the left field line to score both. Abreu would come home on a wild pitch as Pitt found itself down by a score of 3-1 through two.

The Panthers got one back in the third as Charles Leblanc extended his reached base streak to 21 games with a single through the left side, allowing Aaron Schnurbusch, who had singled to start the inning, to score.

In the fifth, Pitt regained the lead as a two-run stanza put the Panthers on top 4-3. Parry would draw a lead-off walk, moving to second on a sacrifice bunt from Schnurbusch. A walk to Jacob Wright and subsequent wild pitch would put runners on the corners with two outs for Leblanc, who singled to center field, scoring Parry.

Miami called upon its bullpen as Nick Yarnall took the plate. The junior singled to center to score Wright, as the inning came to an end with Pitt on top 4-3.

The Hurricanes tied it up in the sixth, as a double down the left field line from Edgar Michlangeli knotted it up at 4-4.

Josh Mitchell, who entered the game in relief of Zeuch, allowed his first mistake of his outing as a three-run bomb off the bat of Carl Chester put the Hurricanes on top 7-4.

The Panthers threatened in the ninth, scoring two to cut the lead to 7-6. Kowalczyk led the frame off with a single up the middle, moving to second on a groundout from Frank Maldonado and taking third on a passed ball. Yanni would single up the middle to score Kowalczyk, cutting the Miami lead to 7-5.

A single through the right side off the bat of Parry would put a pair on for Schnurbusch, who sent a single to right field, plating Yanni. With runners at first and second with one out, Matt Johnson would get called on strikes. Wright sent a shallow fly ball to right field, but Miami fielder Abreu would make the grab and give the Hurricanes a 7-6 win.

With the loss, Pitt falls to 25-21-0, 10-14-0 in the ACC. Mitchell earns the loss, falling to 0-3 on the year.

Offensively, Leblanc led the way, going 3-of-4 with two RBIs, while Kowalczyk went 2-of-3 with an RBI and a pair of runs scored.

The Panthers will return to the diamond tomorrow for a 7 p.m. meeting with the Hurricanes in game two of the three-game series. The contest can be seen live on ESPN3.

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