Pitt Baseball Takes Game One at Notre Dame

SOUTH BEND, IND. – A strong performance from the Panther pitching staff led the University of Pittsburgh baseball team to a 4-2 series opening win over Notre Dame at Eck Stadium in South Bend, Ind., Friday night.

(Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics)

The victory is the first over Notre Dame since the Panthers joined the ACC, as they snapped the Fighting Irish’s six-game conference win streak in the series.

“It was a very solid win today,” said head coach Joe Jordano. “After a tough loss last week, our club responded with a very focused and determined effort. Josh (Falk) gave us a very gutsy start and Garrett (Wrambel) and Yaya (Chentouf) did a great job out of the pen. We played well defensively and got a big two-out two-RBI hit by Frank (Maldonado) which turned out to be the game-winner. We look forward to getting back at it in game two.”

Pitt jumped out to the lead early, as a run in the first and second innings gave Pitt a 2-0 lead. Charles Leblanc recorded the first Pitt hit of the game in the second inning, smacking a triple into right center. He would be brought home on the following pitch, as a double from Nick Yarnall gave the Panthers the first lead of the outing.

In the second, Frank Maldonado led off with an infield single, moving to second on a sacrifice bunt by Caleb Parry. A single from Aaron Schnurbusch would put runners on the corners for Jacob Wright, who would lay down a sacrifice bunt down the first base line to score Maldonado.

Notre Dame tied things up with a two-run second frame. A single by Lane Richards would kick things off as a double from Kyle Richardson would plate the first run of the game for the Fighting Irish. In the next at bat, Ryan Lidge would send a single to center field, moving to third on an error by Schnurbusch, and scoring Richardson to tie the game.

Pitt responded in the visitor half of the third, getting those two runs back to once again take the lead. Yarnall kicked off the frame with a single to center, as a double from David Yanni would put a pair in scoring position. With two outs, Maldonado sent a single up the middle to score both and give Pitt the 4-2 advantage.

The game quieted down after that, as starter Josh Falk found his groove for the Panthers. Falk would retire the next 13 of the next 18 batters faced through two outs in the seventh inning before being removed in favor of Garrett Wrambel. Through those 4.2 innings of work, Falk allowed just four hits and one walk, not permitting a Notre Dame runner to pass second base.

Wrambel would need just one pitch to wrap up the seventh inning as he got Kyle Fiala to line out to Leblanc, stranding one and holding the lead at 4-2 in favor of Pitt.

In the eighth, Wrambel would retire the first four batters before a single and double would put the potential tying runs in scoring position. The senior would use just four pitches to retire the final batter as he got pinch hitter Cole Daily to swing on strike three.

The Pitt offense stranded one in the ninth as Yaya Chentouf came on in the save situation for the bottom of the stanza. Chentouf would retire the side in order as he fanned Lidge and Cavan before a ground out to Yanni would end the game.

On the night, Maldonado paced the offense, going 2-of-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Yarnall added a 2-of-5 performance with an RBI and run scored.

Falk earned his third win of the season, tossing 6.2 innings, allowing nine hits and two earned runs, walking just one and striking out one. Chentouf earned his fifth save with his ninth-inning shutdown, as the freshman didn’t allow a run, hit or walk and struck out two.

With the victory, Pitt improves to 23-18-0, 9-12-0 in the ACC. The win is the first series opening ACC victory of the season for Pitt as they look to secure the series win tomorrow. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.

Notes: The win is the 817th career victory for head coach Joe Jordano and his 534th at the helm of the Pitt program … Frank Maldonado recorded two hits for the 11th time this season, his 16th multiple hit game of the season … Nick Yarnall added two hits for the seventh time this season, his ninth multiple hit game of the year … Maldonado added a pair of RBIs for the second time this year, his fourth multiple-RBI outing of the season … Ronnie Sherman snapped a six-game hit streak … Jacob Wright extended his hit streak to four games … Charles Leblanc extended his on-base streak to 16 contests … Aaron Schnurbusch extended his on-base streak to 10 games … Pitt improves to 11-9 on the road and 5-5 in road ACC matchups .. Pitt is now 5-7 in night games and 14-9 in games played on turf … the Panthers improve to 11-6 in games in which they wear blue jerseys … Pitt moves to 12-13 against right-handed starting pitchers … Pitt improves to 20-4 when leading after six and 21-2 when leading after eight … Pitt is now 16-5 when scoring first … the Panthers improve to 4-14 when being out hit by the opponent … the Panthers improve to 12-11 when committing one or no errors … Pitt is now 2-2 in the month of May and 6-8 on Fridays … the Panthers improve to 9-9 in games following a loss.

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