Pitt gets walk-off upset of Virginia for first win against top-ranked team
PITTSBURGH -- University of Pittsburgh (16-14, 8-6 ACC) walked off against top-ranked Virginia (26-5, 11-3 ACC), 2-1, on Saturday. Jordan Frabasilio delivered the game-winning RBI in the bottom of the ninth with a one-out, bases-loaded sacrifice fly to deep center field.
Hobie Harris picked up the winning decision for the Panthers after tossing two perfect frames of relief. Connor Jones received the loss for the Cavaliers, allowing one run on one hit and two walks in 3.1 innings of work.
“Coming back from yesterday, I was extremely proud of my team,” said head coach Joe Jordano. “Joe Harvey pitched incredibly well today and Hobie [Harris] was rock solid out of the bullpen. We did a great job of creating opportunities in the last inning and took advantage of them.”
An eight-pitch duel between Joseph Harvey and Branden Cogswell opened the top of the first inning, resulting in a ground ball out to Dylan Wolsonovich at short. Harvey pinned Daniel Pinero into an 0-2 count during the next at-bat and proceeded to induce a ground ball out to Matt Johnson at second base. Wolsonovich made a smooth back-handed grab on a ball put in play by Mike Papi to complete the perfect stanza for Pitt.
Harvey blanked Virginia once again during the Cavaliers’ half of the second, beginning with a line out to short by Joe McCarthy. He then managed to sit down both Nick Howard and Brandon Downes on strikes to exit the inning unscathed.
Casey Roche led off the bottom of the second with base on balls and Eric Hess followed with a single through the right side for the Panthers first hit of the game. With no outs and runners on the corners, Nick Yarnall delivered a sacrifice fly to left field to plate Pitt’s first run of the series, 1-0.
The top of the third was welcomed by a leadoff single through the right side by Robbie Coman, who advanced into scoring position on a Kenny Towns sacrifice bunt. John La Prise walked with one out to put runners at first and second base. Harvey strung up Cogswell on a 1-2 change-up and Pinero grounded into a fielder’s choice to keep Virginia scoreless in the game.
Harvey needed only five pitches to retire the first two batters in the top of the fourth. After McCarthy tagged him for the Cavaliers’ second hit of the game, Harvey forced Papi into a pop-out to Jordan Frabasilio at third for the final out of the frame. In the top of the fifth, it took only eight pitches for Harvey to get out of the inning.
The Panthers enjoyed another perfect frame from Harvey during the visitors’ half of the sixth, marking the second straight inning without allowing a base runner and the fourth overall in the game.
Wolsonovich ripped a line drive back to the mound off of the foot of Josh Sborz for a base hit to start things off for Pitt in the bottom of the sixth. With Roche stepping up to the plate with one out in the inning, Virginia opted for reliever Connor Jones out of the bullpen to spot Sborz. Roche then lined out to short while Wolsonovich was doubled up by Pinero on the play.
McCarthy was issued a leadoff walk by Harvey in the top of the seventh stanza and added a swipe of second base during Howard’s turn at the plate. Howard grounded out to second to advance McCarthy to third. The Cavaliers then tied the game when Wolsonovich booted a ball at short that allowed McCarthy to score an uncontested and unearned run, 1-1.
In the home half of the seventh, Hess sliced a single down the third base line and was motioned into scoring position on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Yarnall. Frabasilio then soared a deep fly ball to right field to give enough room for Hess to tag up to third. The go-ahead run would be left stranded at third though, as Johnson flew out to right to end the Panthers’ rally.
Pitt turned to Hobie Harris in relief of Harvey during the top of the eighth inning. La Prise and Pinero each went down swinging at strike three as Harris produced a perfect frame out of the bullpen for the Panthers. Harris excelled again in the next half-inning, retiring Virginia in order to take the 1-1 game into the final frame.
Boo Vazquez opened the bottom of the ninth with a six-pitch walk and was lifted in favor of pinch runner A.J. Lardo at first base. A Jones 0-2 offering met Roche’s helmet for a hit by pitch to put two runners on for Hess, who advanced Vazquez and Roche each into scoring position with a bunt back to the pitcher. After Yarnall was intentionally walked to present a force out at each base, Frabasilio smoked a 2-1 delivery to deep center field, allowing Lardo to tag up from third for the walk-off victory, 2-1.