Pitt Baseball Shuts Out No. 6 North Carolina

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team claimed a 5-0 shutout win over the sixth-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels on Sunday afternoon, in a rainy contest from Boshamer Stadium in Chapel Hill, N.C.

(Photo of Pitt’s Charles LeBlac courtesy of Pitt Athletics)

“Today was a big win for us,” said head coach Joe Jordano. “Winning on the road against the NO. 6 team in the country after getting beat in games on and two says a lot about these guys. We emphasized this week that we were going to concentrate on the things that we can control and to get better as a team each time out. In game one, we really did not play as bad as the score indicated, and yesterday we had our chances. Today it all came together with a solid start by Josh [Falk] and a gutsy performance out of the pen by Garrett Wrambel.”

It was a pitchers dual early on, as Josh Falk earned his first start of the season for the Panthers, squaring off against Jason Morgan. The two righties kept things quiet through three frames, as Falk held the Tar Heels without a hit through 11 batters.

The Panthers took their first lead of the series in the fourth inning as David Yanni singled to right field and Aaron Schnurbusch took a pitch to the foot to put runners on with one out. Ron Sherman cranked a homer to right center to clear the bases and give Pitt a 3-0 advantage.

Falk would retire three of the four batters faced in the bottom of the inning, surrendering his first hit of the contest, a single through the right side from Zack Gahagan, but escaping the inning unharmed.

Pitt kept the pressure on in the fifth, as Nick Yarnall took a five-pitch walk and Charles LeBlanc singled to right field, chasing the starting pitcher. In the next at bat, Alex Kowalczyk would reach on a fielder’s choice, as Yarnall advanced to third and came around on a throwing error by Logan Warmoth. A single from Yanni would put runners on the corners for Schnurbusch, who sent a single to left field, scoring Yarnall and giving the Panthers the 5-0 lead.

Another pair of scoreless frames for both teams saw Pitt take a 5-0 lead into the eighth for the first time in five contests.

Entering the game in the fifth inning, relief pitcher Garrett Wrambel was lights out for the Panthers, retiring 12 of 18 batters faced to earn the win. With runners on first and second and two outs in the eighth, Wrambel was able to get Logan Warmoth to fly out to centerfielder Schnurbusch and end the inning. In the ninth, Wrambel pitched a one-two-three frame to secure the win for the Panthers.

“Offensively, we had some great at bats and a three-run homer by Ron Sherman gave us all we needed today,” the skipper added. “We must improve heading into mid-week games this week.”

Sherman led the offense, going 2-of-4 with three runs batted in and a run scored, recording his third home run of the season. Yanni was 2-of-3 with a run scored and a walk, while Schnurbusch went 1-of-3 with a run batted in and a run scored, in addition to being hit by a pitch.

On the mound, Wrambel earned his first win of the season, going 4.2 innings, surrendering just five hits, no runs, no walks and one strikeout. Starter Falk went 4.1 innings, allowing just one hit and no runs, while walking three and fanning one.

With the victory, Pitt improves to 7-6-0 on the season and 1-2-0 in the ACC. The Panthers return to action Wednesday, March 16 with a single game against regional rival Kent State. Pitt will make its home debut the following weekend, hosting nationally-ranked Florida State in a three-game series at Charles L. Cost field March 18-20.

Notes: It is the Panthers’ first win over a top-10 team since they defeated No. 1 Virginia on March 7, 2015 … the victory is the first shutout win since a 7-0 blanking of Virginia Tech on May 15, 2015 … Ron Sherman collected his third home run of the season … the Panthers improve to 4-5 in the all-time series with the Tar Heels … Nick Yarnall snapped a nine-game hit streak … Charles LeBlanc extended his on-base streak to 20 consecutive games, dating back to the 2015 season … Ron Sherman’s three RBIs are his sixth multiple RBI performance of the season … the outing marked the fourth time in which Sherman collected three RBIs in one game … Pitt improves to 4-5 on the road in 2016 … the Panthers improve to 1-2 vs. teams ranked in the top 25 … Pitt is now 7-4 in day games and 7-6 in contests played on grass … the Panthers improve to 1-5 in the month of March and 3-1 in Sunday outings … Pitt also improves to 2-4 in games following a loss … the Panthers are 1-1 in shutouts on the season, 6-2 when leading after six and 6-1 when leading after eight … Pitt out-hit the Tar Heels 11-6, improving to 8-1 in games in which they out-hit their opponents.

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