Pitt Baseball Tops No. 25 Georgia Tech

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PITTSBURGH – The Pittsburgh Panthers (14-13, 6-8 ACC) topped Georgia Tech (23-7, 7-7 ACC) on a chilly Sunday afternoon to split an abbreviated series with the Yellow Jackets. Powered by a healthy performance by the bats, Pitt produced 13 runs to take the second game of a two-game series, 13-6.

(Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics)

Saturday’s game was cancelled due to inclement weather, as the Panthers split the series with the nationally-ranked Yellow Jackets.

“I was very pleased with how we came back, it was obviously a very poor day yesterday,” said head coach Joe Jordano. “I thought we did a really good job executing. Much more aggressive at the plate, getting some early action early in the counts.”

Junior Nick Yarnall hit his seventh home run of the season in the fourth inning to help expand the Panthers lead. The two-run shot gave Yarnall three runs batted in on the day.

Three hits from sophomore Caleb Parry also aided the offense as Parry totaled four runs batted in on the day. A double in the second inning drove in two runs and a single in the fourth did the same for the first baseman.

After being named to the Perfect Game Midseason College Baseball All-American list just a few days prior, sophomore Charles Leblanc continued his tear with two base hits in four at-bats. His pair of singles gave the Laval, Quebec native three runs batted in in the contest.

Panthers ace T.J. Zeuch started the game for Pitt and improved to 3-0 on the year. The junior went 5.0 innings pitched, surrendering seven hits and five runs, four of them unearned. Zeuch walked three and retired two batters via strikeouts.

Zac Ryan (1-1) received the start for Georgia Tech and suffered his first loss on the year. Ryan went three innings, allowing four hits and five runs, four unearned. He walked three and hit a batter while also recording two strikeouts.

Pitt took the lead early in the game due to some efficient small ball. A lead-off walk to junior Jacob Wright spurred the Panthers first run as Pitt opted for a pair of sacrifice bunts. Yarnall’s bunt brought Wright home.

A four-run second inning expanded the Panthers’ lead as Parry struck a two-RBI double to left center. After Wright walked, Leblanc lined a single back up the middle to bring in to more runs and give the Panthers a 5-0 lead after two frames.

Georgia Tech clawed back into the game in the fourth. Tristin English hit a double with the bases loaded that cleared the bases. English scored on an error by Matt Johnson off the bat of Ryan Peurifoy to cut the Panthers lead down to one.

“I always say you have to punch back. If you take a punch you have to punch back,” Jordano said.
They responded to the manager’s mantra just when it seemed like the Yellow Jackets were back in the ballgame, Pitt put up a six spot to counter Georgia Tech’s fourth inning.

Pitt bounced back in the bottom half of the inning with six runs of their own to put the game out of reach. The Panthers faced three different pitchers in a frame where Georgia Tech struggled to throw strikes. Wright doubled to left center, bringing in senior Matt Johnson. Leblanc then singled home Wright, who scored three runs in the game.

Yarnall then launched a home run to right field on a day where there were 10 mph winds blowing in from left field. Senior Ron Sherman walked on the ensuing at bat and sophomore Frank Maldonado hit a single, paving the way for a two-RBI single from Parry to give the Panthers a commanding 11-4 lead.

The Yellow Jackets chipped away in the fifth and sixth innings, scoring a run in each frame. Junior Josh Falk took over for Zeuch after five innings. Falk pitched 2.2 innings, giving up one run on seven hits.

The seventh inning provided some more insurance for Pitt as Wright hit his second double of the game, scoring Parry. Then with the bases loaded, Johnson scored on a wild pitch from Georgia Tech’s Jake Lee.

“We needed to come out today and play this game, and I was very pleased with how we did. I thought it was a positive weekend,” Jordano said.

The Panthers will travel down to Granville, W.Va., to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers (16-12, 4-4 Big12) on Tuesday April 12. They will follow that with a three-game series on the road against Virginia Tech.


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