Miami freshman pitcher Victor Mederos took the mound in Pittsburgh on Saturday looking to help Miami even the three-game series, but after a one-two-three first inning, the right-hander failed to maintain momentum in the second and No. 17 Pittsburgh held off No. 20 Miami 6-4 Charles L. Cost Field.
Mederos (1-3) was lifted after only two innings, allowing four earned runs and walking two batters, as Miami (17-10, 10-9 Atlantic Coast Conference) fell behind early on a three-run Pittsburgh attack in the second frame.
Pittsburgh (16-10, 11-9 ACC) continued to capitalize in the fourth inning with UM sophomore right-hander Jake Smith in at pitcher. Pitt third baseman Sky Duff hit a one-out RBI double to stretch the Panthers lead to 5-2.
Striking out two-straight batters to start the fifth, Smith fanned Pittsburgh first baseman Bryce Hulett, who nonetheless reached first base on a wild pitch. A balk led to Hulett moving to scoring position, but shortstop Brock Franks struck out to leave him stranded.
Designated hitter Raymond Gil picked up where he had left off after homering twice on Friday, answering with a solo shot to center field in the sixth. UM still trailed 5-4 after freshman third baseman Yohandy Morales scored on a throwing error to tie the contest at three runs apiece in the top of the third.
UM pitcher Alex McFarlane kept the Panthers off the base path, though Pittsburgh starter Matt Gilbertson (4-3) mirrored that with a one-two-three bottom half.
Catcher Adrian Del Castillo was hit by a pitch with one out in the eighth, as center fielder Christian Del Castillo then knocked a seeing-eye single through the left side. UM then loaded the bases on first baseman Alex Toral’s five-pitch walk, but Gil grounded into a double play to retire the side.
Though right-handed pitcher Daniel Federman started versus Duke last weekend, the junior instead filled in for McFarlane in the home half of the eighth and held the Panthers hitless.
Besides a base hit to left field from freshman shortstop Dominic Pitelli, UM also lacked the necessary hits, as well as base running late in the game.
Right fielder Gabe Rivera and left fielder Jared Thomas, pinch hitting for Jordan Lala, were each hit by pitches to load the bases once more.
Second baseman Anthony Vilar, however, flied into a double play to left field, as Rivera was tagged out at second base while retreating.
Third baseman Yohandy Morales, 2-for-5 at the plate, then stood in disbelief after striking out looking on a low breaking ball to end the ninth. Miami head coach Gino DiMare also remained incensed at home plate umpire Tim Rosso.
Gilbertson tossed seven innings and garnered his fourth win of the year, despite the four earned runs. Pittsburgh right-handed reliever Dylan Lester finished the afternoon, striking out one batter having faced two.
The Hurricanes used four different pitchers, striking out 13 hitters while relinquishing only three walks, but also left eight runners aboard.
Miami and Pittsburgh will face off once more in the series finale on Sunday at 1 p.m.