Tech Rally Falls Short
Hokies lose to Pittsburgh 12-11
March 28, 2004

BLACKSBURG, Va. - Pittsburgh built a six-run lead in the late innings and held off hard-charging Virginia Tech for a 12-11 BIG EAST victory at English Field on Sunday.

The win gave the Panthers (14-4; 3-0) a three-game sweep of their weekend series with the Hokies. It marked the first time Tech (12-9; 0-3) had been swept in a three-game series played in Blacksburg since South Carolina did it in 1986.

Pittsburgh took the early lead with a four-run second inning that was aided by a pair of Tech errors. The inning included RBI-singles by third baseman Mike Scanzano and right fielder David Cline. A two-run homer by first baseman Tom Cashman put the visitors up 6-2 in the top of the third.

Tech got a run back in the bottom of the third on a run-scoring single off the bat of freshman right fielder Sean O'Brien (Chappaqua, N.Y.). The Hokies tied the game in the fifth inning when they scored three runs on four singles and a UP error. Freshman designated hitter Matt Foley (Lansdowne, Va.) and sophomore center fielder Sheldon Adams (Big Stone Gap, Va.) contributed RBI-singles during the inning.

The Panthers broke the 6-6 tie in the seventh inning when designated hitter P.J. Hiser tripled in a run with two outs. Pittsburgh tacked on five runs on five hits in the top of the eighth for what appeared to be a comfortable 12-6 advantage. But that was not the case.

Seven of the first eight men the Hokies brought to the plate in the bottom of the eighth reached base with five scoring. A two-run single by second baseman Tom Blaszak (Blacksburg, Va.) brought Tech within a run, before the tying run was stranded on second base. The Hokies got another chance in the bottom of the ninth when catcher Wyatt Toregas (Ashburn, Va.) led off with a single, but a failed sacrifice bunt attempt and a double play ended their hopes.

Reliever Adam Luckette, the second of four Pittsburgh pitchers, got the victory for his first decision of the season. Eli Friedman picked up his third save of the year with 1 2/3 innings of work. Tech reliever Jay Musialowski (0-1) was saddled with the loss despite allowing just three hits and one run in his 3 2/3 innings on the mound.

Tech finished the game with 18 hits, including three each by O'Brien, Foley, Adams and Toregas. First baseman Jed English (Alexandria, Va.) and left fielder Matt Kalish (Miami, Fla.) added two hits apiece.

Pittsburgh, the top hitting team in the BIG EAST, got hits from nine different batters and runs batted in from seven different players. Hiser and Cline led the way with three hits each.

Tech is scheduled to return to action on Tuesday with a 2:30 p.m., game at Liberty University.