Ramirez slams door on Panthers

Senior Mikey Ramirez pitched a complete-game, four-hit shutout as Arkansas-Pine Bluff defeated Pittsburgh 5-0 – UAPB’s first win over an Atlantic Coast Conference school in program history – on Sunday at the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex.

“To play as well as we did this weekend, you can’t ask for anything more,” UAPB head coach Carlos James said.

Ramirez struck out six in nine innings and threw about 100 pitches.

“You can’t ask for a better performance,” James said. “He knows how to mix up speed and kept them off balance.

“He was pretty efficient. It is very encouraging for a like that, to go out there and throw a complete game.”

James said he never thought about pulling Ramirez.

“In the seventh inning, he was at about 76 pitches,” James said. “He never really got into trouble in the ballgame.

“They had maybe four base runners the whole game.”

James said this is something Ramirez will remember for the rest of his life.

“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” James said. “He will be talking about this for the rest of his life.”

Kirby Campbell returned to UAPB’s starting lineup on Sunday and finished the day 2 for 3 with two RBIs and a run scored.

“It was good to see him get back on track,” James said. “He hadn’t been in the lineup for the last couple of weeks.

“In order for us to win the West, we need him back in the lineup. (On Sunday), he had some life in his bat again.”

One of the biggest strengths of UAPB this season has been its depth. So while Campbell was struggling at the plate, James had been plugging in Tyler Oertle in the designated hitter spot.

“Coming up with those big hits, that is typical of Kirby,” James said. “… We finally have our full team.”

UAPB scored two runs in the second, one in the fifth and two in the seventh inning. The Golden Lions tallied eight hits and left 11 runners on base. Pittsburgh (19-23) left four runners on and did not commit an error.

Vladimir Gomez led UAPB (19-25) with three hits in four trips and an RBI. Rashawn Tillman was 1 for 2 with a run scored and Andre Davis was 1 for 5 with a run scored.

Freshman T.J. Zeuch pitched six innings in the loss for Pittsburgh. He allowed three runs (all earned) on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts.

Stephen Vranka, Boo Vazquez, Casey Roche and Caleb Parry had a hit each for Pittsburgh.

UAPB will host Alcorn State on Wednesday beginning at 2 p.m. at the Torii Hunter Baseball Complex for its final home game of the season.

The Lions will wrap up their conference season in Houston with a three-game series with Texas Southern beginning Saturday. TSU is currently 2 1/2 games behind UAPB in the SWAC Western Division. UAPB has to win the series to clinch first place.