Pitt baseball loses two of three to Yellow Jackets in Atlanta

Georgia Tech struck early and often last weekend, setting up Pitt baseball’s third consecutive conference series loss, as it lost two of three games in Atlanta.

Starting pitching, or a lack thereof, served as foreshadowing for each game’s winner. Only in games where their starter pitched more than five innings did either Pitt (17-31, 7-20 ACC) or Georgia Tech (32-18, 13-14 ACC) pull out a victory.

For Pitt, this meant losses in the Friday and Sunday games, when Pitt starters T.J. Zeuch and Sam Mersing went four and one-third and four innings, respectively.

On Friday, Georgia Tech won 9-1, holding Pitt to only 3 hits. Zeuch gave up eight earned runs over his start, nine in total.

Pitt evened the series on Saturday with an 8-6 win, behind a strong performance from junior catcher Alex Kowalczyk. Kowalczyk batted 4-5 with two doubles, three runs scored and two RBIs.

“I was seeing the ball out of the [pitcher’s] hand really well,” Kowalczyk said in a release. “I was picking up pitches, getting the barrel on the ball and driving it.”

Pitt collected 14 hits total in the game, along with nine walks, leaving head coach Joe Jordano pleased with his team’s performance.

“I think we were really aggressive early in the counts and did a great job with runners in scoring position,” Jordano said in his postgame interview. “When you have opportunities to score, you have to score.”

Pitt still left 13 men on base during Saturday’s game, and those missed opportunities showed up in Sunday’s rubber match.

Georgia Tech hammered the Panthers from the start in Sunday’s game, scoring all 10 of their runs in the first five innings in an eventual 10-3 victory.

This was despite 10 hits from Pitt, including three from the team’s leading hitter, sophomore designated hitter Nick Yarnall.

“We moved the baseball, we had 10 hits and we only scored three runs.” Jordano said. “We’ve got to be a little bit more efficient offensively.”

Despite the continuation of conference struggles, Pitt had one bright spot, in the form of senior Boo Vazquez. With a single in the eighth inning of Sunday’s game, Vazquez became the 13th Pitt player to tally 200 career hits, 100 runs and 100 RBIs.

“It’s special to me. It’s something that when I’m older, I’ll look back on as a good accomplishment,” Vazquez said in the release. “It’s an honor, and I think my family is proud of me.”

Pitt will play its last series of the season on Thursday, a home set against Virginia Tech.

First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

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