Louisville, Ky. – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (40-13, 18-4 Big East) dropped a 5-2 game to No. 10 Louisville (44-10, 18-4 Big East) in the series opener this evening at Patterson Stadium.
"It was a great atmosphere today," said head coach Joe Jordano. "Both teams played hard and the difference in the score was a big two out hit in the fourth inning. We had 13 hits and left 16 baserunners stranded so obviously that was a key difference in the game as well."
Chard Green (9-2) earned the win while Ethan Mildren (JR/Hopwood, Pa.) (9-3) took the loss after allowing five runs over 7.0 innings of work. Nick Burdi picked up the save.
The Panthers struck first in the top of the first inning. Elvin Soto (SO/New York, N.Y.) reached when he ripped a single up the middle with one out. With two outs Boo Vazquez (SO, Youngstown, Ohio) battled with Green eventually sending a 2-2 pitch into center where the ball was bobbled by the UL centerfielder allowing Soto to score the game's first run and give Pitt an early 1-0 lead.
Louisville took the lead in the bottom of the fourth when it scored four runs with the final pair coming on a key two out hit. While two runs scored on the hit, the final out of the inning was also made at the plate on a 7-5-2-1 putout.
The Cardinals added a run in the bottom of the seventh to push their advantage to 5-1 before the Panthers got a run back in the top of the eighth. Steven Shelinsky Jr. (JR/Yardley, Pa.) started the inning with a single into left field. Evan Oswald (SR/Butler, Pa.) singled through the left side to put a pair on with no outs. Following a strikeout, Stephen Vranka (JR/Monroeville, Pa.) singled into left to load the bases. After another out, Casey Roche (JR/Downingtown, Pa.) drew a walk to bring home a run before Vazquez came to the dish and hit a deep ball to right but it came to rest in the glove of the Cardinal fielder to mark the 12th, 13th and 14th batters left stranded on the night for Pitt.
UL looked poised to answer with a run in the bottom of the eighth getting a runner to third with no outs but Jon Danielczyk (JR/Erie, Pa.) came out of the pen and got a strike out of Shane Crane and got Zak Wasserman to fly out to Roche in right who gunned down the runner at the plate for the final out of the inning.
The Panthers were able to bring the tying run to the plate in the top of the ninth but pinch hitter Bennette Hill's (FR/Olive Branch, Miss.) drive to right fell into the UL fielder's glove just shy of the warning track for the game's final out.
"No doubt about it Louisville is very well coached, has outstanding talent and are an incredible baseball team," said Jordano. "We're going to come back hard tomorrow, get refocused and we'll be ready to play."
Pitt and Louisville will be back in action tomorrow at 6 p.m. for the second game of their series. Matt Wotherspoon (JR/Mountain Top, Pa.) (9-1) will take the mound for the Panthers, while Jeff Thompson (9-1) toes the rubber for the Cardinals.