PITTSBURGH - The 11th-ranked Virginia Tech wrestling team jumped out to a 16-3 lead over No. 18 Pittsburgh Friday night at Fitzgerald Field House, but the Panthers won the last four matches, picking up a pin in the last match to rally for the 18-16 win over the Hokies. Pittsburgh, which will join the ACC next year, is now 10-0 all-time against Virginia Tech on the mat.
At 125 pounds, seventh-ranked Jarrod Garnett got the Hokies off to a good start with a 14-3 major decision over Derrick Nelson. He used a pair of takedowns in the first period, plus back points in the third period, bolster his way to the bonus points. At 133 pounds, seventh-ranked Shelton Mack picked up a second-period takedown to lift him to a 3-2 win over Tech’s Erik Spjut.
At 141 pounds, 10th-ranked Zach Neibert had to rally, but picked up a 6-3 win over Travis Shaffer. Neibert got an early takedown, but trailed 3-2 after two periods. In the third period, Neibert rode Shaffer for the whole period and turned him late for three back points to pick up the win for Tech. At 149 pounds, 10th-ranked Nick Brascetta dominated Donnie Tasser, rolling to a 10-3 win. Eighth-ranked Jesse Dong didn’t allow any offensive points to Troy Reaghard and used several takedowns to roll to the 9-3 win at 157 pounds.
At 165 pounds, a pair of ranked wrestlers took the mat as fourth-ranked Pete Yates used a second-period takedown and riding time to beat No. 11 Tyler Wilps 4-2. Leading 16-3, Pitt’s Nick Bonaccorsi kept the pressure on Tech’s Austin Gabel, forcing a second stall warning in the second sudden victory to pick up the 3-2 win. The two were tied at 1-1 after regulation and sudden victory and Gabel got the escape in the tiebreaker, but was called for locked hands in the second portion of the tiebreaker to tie it again. In the second sudden victory period, Bonaccorsi shot in and Gabel was dinged for his second warning, giving Bonaccorsi the win.
At 184 pounds, 14th-ranked Max Thomusseit picked up a takedown with 18 seconds left in the match to pull out a 3-1 win over Nick Vetterlein. At 197 pounds, second-ranked Matt Wilps controlled the action, but couldn’t get the final points he needed in the final seconds to pick up bonus points in beating Tech’s Derrick Borlie 8-2.
At heavyweight, ninth-ranked Zac Thomusseit needed a major decision over Tech’s David Marone to tie the match but ended up getting a defensive fall with 5 seconds left in the first tiebreaker to give the Panthers the stunning win. Marone got a reversal in the second period and the two were tied at 2-2 heading to sudden victory and off a scramble, Thomusseit appeared to pin Marone, but it was ruled to have come after the period ended, sending it to the tiebreaker. After riding Marone for the first 30 seconds of the tiebreaker, Thomusseit only had to escape to win the bout, but it would have meant a team win for the Hokies. He went to the bottom and from the defensive position, he propped Marone’s legs up and leaned back into him to pin him and cap off the wild win.
“Every little thing that could have gone wrong for us tonight did and everything went in their favor,” Tech head coach Kevin Dresser said. “We gave it away big time. I am excited to see how we bounce back on Sunday.”
Tech (3-2) will try to rebound from the loss on Sunday, taking on 20th-ranked Edinboro at 1 p.m.
#18 Pittsburgh (1-2) 18, #11 Virginia Tech (3-2) 16
125: #7 Jarrod Garnett (VT) maj. dec. Derrick Nelson, 14-3
133: #7 Shelton Mack (P) vs. Erik Spjut, 3-2
141: #10 Zach Neibert (VT) dec. Travis Shaffer, 6-3
149: #10 Nick Brascetta (VT) dec. Donnie Tasser, 10-3
157: #8 Jesse Dong (VT) dec. Troy Reaghard, 9-3
165: #4 Pete Yates (VT) vs. #11 Tyler Wilps, 4-2
174: Nick Bonaccorsi (P) dec. Austin Gabel, 3-2 (SV-2)
184: #14 Max Thomusseit (P) dec. Nick Vetterlein, 3-1
197: #2 Matt Wilps (P) dec. Derrick Borlie, 8-2
285: #9 Zac Thomusseit (P) fall David Marone, 8:49 (TB-1)
For updates on Virginia Tech wrestling, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Wrestling).