March 31, 2012
CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati baseball team fell to University of Pittsburgh 6-0 Saturday afternoon at Marge Schott Stadium.
Pitt starting pitcher Ethan Midren halted the Cincinnati (10-15, 1-4 BIG EAST) offense for the entire ballgame after pitching a complete-game shutout and allowing just four hits.
UC freshman third baseman Joey Bielek (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chapparal) was the lone Bearcat to record a multi-hit game after going 2 for 3 with a walk. Bielek is now on a six-game hit streak.
UC freshman righty Grant Walker (Brookeville, Ohio/Northmont) started the game for the Bearcats, but was pulled after walking the leadoff hitter in the fourth inning. Walker's day ended after allowing two runs (both earned) in three-plus innings pitched with two strikeouts and one walk.
The Panthers (12-12, 1-4 BIG EAST) banged out three hits in the top of the first inning and took a 1-0 advantage. Pitt center fielder Stephen Vranka led off the frame with a double to left-center field and scored two batters later when Pitt first baseman Rick Devereaux singled up the middle for an RBI single that gave the Panthers the early lead.
Pittsburgh extended its lead to two runs after scoring again in the third inning. With one out, Pitt designated hitter Anthony Defabio was hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a wild pitch. The following batter, Devereaux recorded his second RBI of the game with a single to left-center field that scored Defabio.
The Bearcats nearly scored their first run of the game in the third inning when senior first baseman Nic Spence (Victoria, Australia/St. Josephs/Central Arizona CC) blasted a fly ball that flew over the right-field fence, but hooked just foul in the last moment.
Pitt took a three-run lead in the sixth inning when Panthers left fielder Boo Vazquez singled to right field for an RBI that plated right fielder Casey Roche from third base and put the Bearcats in a 3-0 hole.
Junior left-hander Thomas Gentile (Westerville, Ohio/St. Francis DeSales) entered the game for Walker in the fourth inning. The 5-foot-11 southpaw was effective for the first five innings he pitched before allowing three runs in the ninth, as the Panthers took a 6-0 lead.
Cincinnati's defense kept the Bearcats within striking defense, executing inning-ending double plays in the first, fourth and sixth and stranding seven Panthers on the base paths.
Freshman pitcher Evan Hills (Liberty Township, Ohio/Lakota East) relieved Gentile with two outs in the top of the ninth and retired the first batter he faced.
Cincinnati and Pittsburgh will play a rubber-match of the three-game conference series 1 p.m. Sunday at Marge Schott Stadium. The ballgame can be seen live on GoBEARCATS.com and heard on Real Talk 1160 WQRT-AM.