March 2, 2012
CONWAY - Leadoff hitters in the first, fifth and sixth innings all scored for Pittsburgh and the Panthers held on for a 3-1 win over host Coastal Carolina Friday afternoon at Watson Stadium/Vrooman Field. Earlier in the day at Myrtle Beach's BB&T Coastal Field, Illinois defeated St. John's 4-0 as part of the Coastal Carolina Invitational.
Pitt improves to 4-4, while the Chanticleers fall to 3-4. Saturday's schedule has Illinois facing Pitt at BB&T Coastal Field and Coastal Carolina hosting St. John's at 1:30 and Illinois at 6 pm with both of those games set for Watson Stadium.
The Panthers took advantage of two leadoff errors to take a 2-0 lead. In the first inning, leadoff hitter Stephen Vranka grounded to third but a high throw allowed Vranka to reach. After a single moved Vrakna to third, Boo Vazquez delivered a sacrifice fly. In the fifth, Evan Oswald started the frame by reaching on a throwing error.
Pitt padded its advantage in the sixth as Elvin Soto hit a leadoff home run to right field, his third round-tripper of the season.
Coastal cut its deficit to two, 3-1, with a run in the eighth. After a pair of infield singles, Daniel Bowman, who was 2-for-3 with a walk for the game, singled to right field to drive in Sloan Gilliam. On the next pitch, Justin Creel just missed a three-run home run with the ball going just foul. He then hit a line drive back up the middle but Panther starter Matt Iannazzo snagged the ball for the final out.
In the ninth, Coastal pinch hitter Alex Buccilli had a leadoff single, but J.R. Leonardi got a strikeout and a foul out before Alex Caravella came out the Panther bullpen to record a strikeout to end the game and earn his first save of the season.
Iannazzo (2-0) earned the win, scattering seven hits over eight innings. He allowed one run and three walks while striking out five. For Coastal, Tyler Herb (2-1) was saddled with the loss. the sophomore only allowed three hits over five-plus innings, with three runs (one earned), three walks and five strikeouts.