Clearwater, Fla. – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team (41-15) defeated St. John’s (22-34), 10-2, in the first round of the Big East Championship at Bright House Field this afternoon in Clearwater, Fla.
Ethan Mildren (JR/Hopwood, Pa.) (10-3) earned the win after pitching 8.0 innings of four hit ball allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out five. Mildren finished his day in fashion by retiring the final 14 batters that he faced. Sean Hagan (4-7) took the loss.
“We needed to win that first ball game and I thought that we played good hard baseball,” head coach Joe Jordano said. “We came up with some hits with runners in scoring position and Ethan pitched outstanding. We were fortunate to come out of that hour and a half delay with Ethan still on the mound and actually I thought he pitched better in the second half then he did in the first four innings. So overall I was very pleased with our team performance.”
Pitt got on the board early with four runs in the bottom of the second inning. Boo Vazquez (SO/Youngstown, Ohio) led off the inning with a double into right field. Steven Shelinsky Jr. (JR/Yardley, Pa.) followed by working a walk. Sam Parente (SR/Pittston, Pa.) brought the Panthers’ first run across the plate with a single up the middle. He was followed by an Evan Oswald (SR/Butler, Pa.) bunt to move players to second and third with one out. Ron Sucre (SR/Miami, Fla.) came up and brought home the pair when he sent a 2-2 pitch into right on a fine piece of hitting for two RBIs pushing Pitt’s lead to 3-0. The final run of the inning was brought home by an Elvin Soto (SO/New York, N.Y.) single up the middle.
St. John’s got on the board in the top of the fourth when it scored a pair to cut the Panthers’ lead in half at 4-2.
Following an hour and 14 minute rain delay in the bottom of the fifth inning, Pitt added three runs in the home half of the fifth. Casey Roche (JR/Downingtown, Pa.) reached on a walk and was followed by Vazquez who ripped a single into right to put runners on the corners with one out. Shelinsky then earned an RBI when he reached on an error by the St. John’s second baseman. With two outs, Oswald came to the plate and sent a ball to the gap in left center for a triple and a pair of RBIs to make the score 7-2 going into the sixth.
Mildren cruised after coming back after the delay going 3.0 innings allowing no runners to reach.
Pitt added three in the bottom of the eighth to push its lead to 10-2. The Panthers scored their runs on sacrifice flys by Soto and Shelinsky and a bases loaded walk drawn by Vazquez.
Jon Danielczyk (SO/Erie, Pa.) came in and recorded the final three outs for Pitt.
The Panthers will be back in action at the Big East Tournament on Thursday, May 23, when they face the winner of Notre Dame (31-23) or Seton Hall (36-17) at 1 p.m.