The Pitt News

Panthers baseball swept by Virginia Cavaliers

Nick Banman hit a home run on Saturday in this weekend's sweep at the hands of the No. 22 Virginia Cavaliers. Stephen Caruso | Assistant Visual Editor

Nick Banman hit a home run on Saturday in this weekend's sweep at the hands of the No. 22 Virginia Cavaliers. Stephen Caruso | Assistant Visual Editor

Nick Banman hit a home run on Saturday in this weekend's sweep at the hands of the No. 22 Virginia Cavaliers. Stephen Caruso | Assistant Visual Editor

By Kevin Bertha | Staff Writer

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After coming back to win its series against the Duke Blue Devils last weekend and defeating in-state rival Penn State 3-2 Tuesday, the Pitt baseball team sought to continue its winning form against the Virginia Cavaliers this weekend.

But the Pitt baseball team (14-15, 6-9 ACC) instead struggled in its series against No. 22 Virginia (26-8, 8-7 ACC), as the Wahoos swept Panthers at Davenport Field in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Pitt tried to rally after a disappointing blowout in Friday night’s matchup, but the Cavaliers closed out the weekend by winning all three games.

Virginia tightened its grip on second place in the ACC Coastal Division while Pitt fell back below .500 on the year.

Game one

At no point in Friday night’s game did the Panthers threaten, as the Cavaliers blew Pitt out by a score of 12-1.

Redshirt junior Matt Pidich started for Pitt but was unable to find his rhythm. Giving up five earned runs, the Virginia bats chased him off the mound after just 2 2/3 innings of work.

Despite Pidich’s poor performance, Friday’s loss can’t be entirely blamed on the 6-foot-3 right hander. Pidich received little help from his defense, with Pitt committing four errors against Virginia.

The Panthers’ struggles weren’t limited to the field. For the second Friday in a row, Pitt’s offense was nonexistent.

Redshirt junior outfielder Frank Maldonado kickstarted Pitt’s offense in the second inning by hitting a single followed by a redshirt junior Caleb Parry double to left field, bringing him home.

But this would be the team’s only run scored as the Panthers amassed only two more hits the rest of the game for no more runs.

Game two

Pitt played much more competitively in Saturday’s game than it did in the previous day’s contest, but the team ultimately fell short and lost by a score of 5-2.

The Panthers took the lead in the top of the fourth inning off of a mammoth solo home run over the right field bleachers from junior infielder Nick Banman.

In the bottom half of the frame, Virginia tagged redshirt junior pitcher Josh Mitchell for five runs to take the lead.

Virginia junior outfielder Adam Haseley kicked off the inning with a walk followed by graduate designated hitter Robbie Coman knocking a double to put the runners on second and third. Sophomore outfielder Cameron Simmons singled to bring in Haseley and tie up the game.  Junior infielder Justin Novak gave the Cavaliers the lead by singling to drive Coman home.

The Panthers lost control of the inning when junior catcher Caleb Knight followed Novak’s single with a three-run homer to left field. Knight’s blast capped off a five-run fourth inning for the Cavaliers.

Pitt made a last-ditch comeback attempt in the ninth inning. Maldonado started off the rally attempt with a walk and senior shortstop P.J. DeMeo hit a one-out double to drive in Maldonado and narrow the deficit to three runs.

The attempt then stalled, as a flyout from senior catcher Manny Pazos and a ground out from first-year right fielder Nico Popa ensured a series-clinching UVA win.

Game three

The Panthers fell short yet again Sunday afternoon, losing a close 4-3 game as the Wahoos completed the sweep.

Starting pitcher Josh Falk had a decent start, scattering four runs, three earned, on eight hits in six solid innings of work.

In what seemed to be a recurring theme throughout the series, Pitt struggled on offense for much of the game. The Panthers couldn’t score on Haseley for the first six innings of the game.

But in the seventh inning, Pitt nearly staged a successful comeback for the first time of the weekend. Maldonado knocked Haseley from the game with a one-out three-run home run to cut Virginia’s lead to one.

However, Virginia’s relief pitching shut down the Panthers the rest of the way. Sophomore Chesdin Harrington pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out three batters in the process.

Junior Tommy Doyle recorded the save for the Cavaliers in a pressure-filled inning. After starting the inning by striking out first-year second baseman Alex Amos, Banman reached first on a walk. Parry seemingly grounded into a fielder’s choice, but junior shortstop Ernie Clement’s throw to second was offline, allowing both runners to advance safely.

But Maldonado quickly grounded into a double play, giving Doyle the save and the Cavaliers the sweep.

The Panthers’ winless weekend series moves the team to 14-15 on the year. Pitt will take on the Miami Hurricanes in a home ACC Coastal matchup at Charles L. Cost Field next weekend from April 14 to 16.

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Panthers baseball swept by Virginia Cavaliers