May 8, 2009
NORWICH, Conn. - The University of Connecticut baseball team fell to Pittsburgh 7-4 in BIG EAST Conference action under the lights at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, Conn. on Friday night.
With the loss, UConn (27-22, 10-12 BIG EAST) falls to 32-22 all-time against the Panthers dating back to the teams' first meeting in 1990. Pittsburgh improves to 26-16 on the year and 11-10 in BIG EAST play.
UConn starting pitcher Matt Barnes had a stellar start in tonight's ballgame as he did not allow a hit in 2.2 innings pitched before two base hits and a hit batter gave Pittsburgh its first run of the contest. In the first 2.2 innings thrown, Barnes struck out five batters. He took the loss as his record drops to 4-2 on the year.
The Huskies tied the game right away in the bottom of the third inning as senior Dale Brannon singled to shallow centerfield then advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Pierre LePage. He later scored on a Mike Nemeth single to right center to tie the score at one.
Pittsburgh wasted no time in the top of the fourth inning as a sacrifice fly to right field by Frank Mercurio scored Kevan Smith from third to put the Panthers up 2-1. Smith led off the inning with a double to straightaway center before moving to third on a sacrifice bunt by Matt Litzinger.
The Panthers took a 5-1 lead in the fifth as they scored three runs on four hits including two infield singles that increased the Pittsburgh lead to four runs.
Nemeth helped the Huskies cut the Pittsburgh lead to three runs in the bottom of the inning as he recorded his team-leading 62nd hit of the season with a two-out RBI single to center field to score Joe Pavone from second base.
Freshman Scott Oberg took the hill after Barnes went 5.1 innings as he allowed six runs and seven hits. Barnes also threw for seven strikeouts on the night.
In the sixth inning, Pittsburgh added their sixth run of the game to extend their lead to four runs at 6-2 as another sacrifice fly increased the Panther advantage. Junior Peter Fatse picked up his team-best fourth triple of the year to lead off the bottom of the sixth inning and scored on a Matt Burnett groundout to first base.
Freshman George Springer, who earned the honor of BIG EAST Player of the Week announced by the conference on Monday, ran out a ground ball to short stop to give the Huskies their third run of the game as LePage walked to get on base then advanced to third before crossing the plate to cut the Pittsburgh lead to two.
Oberg threw for 2.1 innings after giving up two hits and one earned run while striking out one batter. Senior Dennis Accomando came into the game with two outs in the top of the eighth inning and allowed a double to Schultz before getting out of the inning as Fatse threw out Schultz at home as he was trying to score on a Morgan Kielty base hit to left field.
Trent DeLazzer came into pitch for the Huskies in the top of the ninth as he was able to retire the side on three straight infield groundouts. The Huskies attempt to rally in the bottom of the ninth was cut short as Josh Smith closed the game by striking out the side for his second save of the season.
Pittsburgh starting hurler Nate Reed allowed four runs and eight hits in seven innings of work as he earned his third win of the season with tonight's victory. UConn faces off with Pittsburgh in game two of the three-game series on Saturday, May 9 at J.O. Christian Field. Game time is slated for 3:00 p.m. on the UConn campus. Please see UConnHuskies.com