Pitt drops two more in slow start

By Mark Powell / Staff Writer

In its second weekend of play, Pitt’s baseball team lost two out of three games in the Wofford-USC Upstate Tournament to drop its record to 2-4 on the year.

The Panthers had an inconsistent offensive display for the second straight weekend, scoring 10 runs in their lone win against the University of South Carolina Upstate, but only totaling seven in the other two games.

The 2-4 start is a stark contrast to how the team began last season, as it went 4-2 against seemingly tougher opponents.

Pitt head coach Joe Jordano sent staff ace to the pound against Wofford, as he looked for his second win of the year.

T.J. Zeuch continued his strong pitching from his last outing, giving up only two earned runs and striking out eight over seven innings. Unfortunately for the sophomore righty, the Panthers didn’t give him much support, scoring only three runs.

Sophomore outfielders Jacob Wright and Nick Yarnell led the way offensively for Pitt, with one hit and an RBI apiece. The lineup’s production was top-heavy on Friday, as the first five hitters reached base, while only one of the bottom four recorded a hit.

Senior Hobie Harris came on in relief for Zeuch and walked three batters in less than an inning of work. Relief pitching may be a concern for this Pitt team, especially after losing several of its staff to graduation and the MLB.

The team woke up from its offensive slumber on Saturday, beating USC Upstate 10-4. Senior outfielder Boo Vazquez started the scoring in the first inning, stroking a double into right field to give Pitt a 1-0 lead.

After the first two innings, the teams were tied after trading runs in every frame. The game would remain close until the eighth inning, when Pitt scored four runs to give the team a lead it would not relinquish.

Junior Aaron Schnurbusch led the way offensively, going four for four from the plate in front of sophomore catcher Manny Pazos, who drove home two of the Panthers’ 10 runs.

Pitchers Aaron Sandefur and Matt Pidich combined for the win. Sandefur gave up four runs over eight innings and struck out seven, while Pidich picked up his first win of the season with three innings of shutout relief.

Despite an inspired offensive effort on Saturday, Pitt was on the receiving end of a 10-4 beating on Sunday against an impressive East Tennessee State team.

Wright got the Panthers off to a good start with a base hit and a run scored in the first inning. The Pitt outfielder has recorded at least one hit in every game he’s played this season.

While Pitt pitchers gave up 10 runs on Sunday,  only six of those were earned because of two errors in the field.

Schnurbusch, who went 4-4 from the plate on Saturday, could not replicate that effort on the mound, giving up seven hits and two runs over three-plus innings.

Vazquez had two hits and drove in half of the Panther runs, but the two batters behind him failed to record a hit in seven at bats, leaving three men on base.

The loss has set Pitt off to a mediocre start to the season, with far more important games creeping into view. The Panthers face off against Virginia Commonwealth University next weekend and then make a trip to Charlottesville to play College World Series runner-up Virginia.