Michigan Loses Lead Late in Season-Opening Loss to Pitt
Will Drake

Feb. 18, 2012

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Site: Dunedin, Fla. (Florida Auto Exchange Field)
Event: Big Ten/Big East Challenge
Score: Pittsburgh 9, Michigan 8
Records: U-M (0-1); Pittsburgh (1-1)
Next U-M Event: Saturday, Feb. 18 -- vs. Seton Hall - Big Ten/Big East Challenge (Al Lang Field, St. Petersburg, Fla.), 1 p.m.

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Pittsburgh scored five runs in the final two innings, including a four-run ninth, to defeat the University of Michigan baseball team, 9-8, in the 2012 season opener Friday night (Feb. 17) at the Florida Auto Exchange Field.

Freshman Will Drake (Fairfield, Ohio/Fairfield) went 3-for-5 in his first game as a collegian. Sophomore Michael O'Neill (Powell, Ohio/Olentangy Liberty) drove in three runs and had two hits, including a home run. Senior John Lorenz (Frankfort, Ill./Lincoln-Way East) had a pair of hits and freshman Kevin White (Charlottesville, Va./St. Anne's-Belfield) had two runs batted in.

Pittsburgh took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning, but Michigan answered with two runs in both the third and fourth innings to take an advantage. In the third, O'Neill blasted a two-run home run to left field, scoring Drake, who singled to lead off the frame. Then in the fourth, White reached on a throwing error to open the inning. Sophomore Brett Winger (Orlando, Fla./Olympia) walked and White scored on a double from junior Patrick Biondi (Woodhaven, Mich./Divine Child). The Maize and Blue took the lead on a Drake infield single to the second baseman.

Pittsburgh tied the game in the fifth on an RBI single, but Michigan answered in the bottom half of the fifth, reclaiming the one-run lead. Senior Coley Crank (Pinole, Calif./Pinole Valley) walked, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on a double from Lorenz.

The Wolverines made it 8-4 in the sixth. Drake doubled down the left field line and scored on an O'Neill double. Crank and Lorenz walked and both moved up a base on a passed ball. White brought them home on a single up the middle.

Pittsburgh started to plug away in the eighth, scoring a run on back-to-back doubles. Then in the ninth, junior Kyle Clark (Portage, Mich./Portage Northern) struck out pinch hitter Steven Shelinsky to start the frame. A walk and single followed and both runs scored on a single up the middle. A single put runners on first and second. Sophomore Alex Lakatos (Grand Rapids, Mich./Forest Hills Central) came in and gave up a swinging-bunt single to load the bases. Biondi made a great play in center field on a sinking liner, but a run scored to tie the game at eight. The game-winning run came with a single to right field.

Senior Brandon Sinnery (Worcester, Mass./Worcester Academy) started the game for Michigan, giving up eight hits and four runs in five innings with a pair of strikeouts. Clark struck out four Panthers and was tagged with the loss, allowing seven hits and five runs in 3.1 innings of work.

Rick Devereaux had three hits and four RBI to lead the Panthers, while Boo Vazquez was 4-for-5. Luke Novosel earned the win in relief, striking out three in 2.2 innings, while Tanner Wilt picked up his first save.

Michigan will play its second game in the Big Ten/Big East Challenge this Saturday (Feb. 18) against Seton Hall. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Contact: Kent Reichert (734) 763-4423

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