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No. 19 Pitt stuns No. 6 Arizona State, 24-19 in Pittsburgh, led by three pins

by Roger Sepich, Pitt Athletics

Nino Bonaccorsi (Pitt) waves to fans after win over Arizona State. Photo courtesy of Pitt Athletics

PITTSBURGH—#PINZBURGH was alive and well on Friday night at Fitzgerald Field House.

The No. 19 University of Pittsburgh wrestling program shocked No. 6 Arizona State, 24-19, as Pitt fans powered the Panthers to a wild victory on a memorable night of college wrestling in Pittsburgh.

“I’m proud of these guys for doing what they did tonight,” Pitt head coach Keith Gavin said. “We scheduled some tough opponents, and they are getting better because of it. That’s the goal.”

“It wasn’t how we drew it up at all,” Gavin added. “We lost some matches that we thought we needed to win going into the dual. We thought we matched up well with them. But to get three pins and a DQ, that certainly wasn’t what we thought was going to happen.”

Pitt won four matches to accumulate its 24 team points, using three pins by Cole Matthews, James Lledo and Nino Bonaccorsi as well as rare disqualification due to stalling forced by Gregg Harvey.

Some excellent matches unfolded on Friday night at the Fitzgerald Field House, sending the crowd crazy several times thanks to wild wrestling and controversial calls that culminated in the Panthers mounting a late rally to land their best win of the season – and the best Pitt win of the Keith Gavin era.

With Arizona State having several highly ranked individuals, the Sun Devils entered as favorites expected to secure more bonus-point wins than the hosts. But it was the Panthers (5-3) who scored in bunches.

After Pitt fell behind 6-0, ACC Wrestler of the Week Cole Matthews continued his hot streak by pinning ASU’s Julian Chlebove in the first period to tie it up.

The Sun Devils (3-2) responded by taking the next three matches to take what appeared to be an insurmountable 16-6 lead in the team dual.

But James Lledo found a first-period over Zane Coleman to reignite belief for the Panthers. It was the first win of the season in a dual for Lledo, who moved down to 174 pounds in the Pitt lineup.

Momentum continued with Gregg Harvey putting relentless pressure on his opponent, Josh Nummer, and forcing a stalling disqualification that gave the home team a stunning 18-16 lead.

Knowing bonus points would give Pitt control of the dual, Nino Bonaccorsi stepped on the mat and immediately went to work. His pin at 2:26 over Jake Ortiz sent the Pitt fans into a frenzy one last time, clinching the dual win for the Panthers in the most dramatic fashion.

#19 Pitt 24, #6 Arizona State 19

125: #4 Brandon Courtney (ASU) dec. #32 Gage Curry (Pitt), 10-4 (ASU leads, 3-0)

133: #4 Michael McGee (ASU) dec. #7 Micky Phillippi (Pitt), 5-3 (ASU leads, 6-0)

141: #22 Cole Matthews (Pitt) pins Julian Chlebove (ASU), 1:44 (Tied, 6-6)

149: #11 Kyle Parco (ASU) maj. dec. Dan Mancini (Pitt), 16-2 (ASU leads, 10-6)

157: #3 Jacori Teemer (ASU) dec. #21 Elijah Cleary (Pitt), 6-2 (ASU leads, 13-6)

165: #6 Anthony Valencia (ASU) dec. #13 Jake Wentzel (Pitt), 6-3 (ASU leads, 16-6)

174: James Lledo (Pitt) pins Zane Coleman (ASU), 2:31 (ASU leads, 16-12)

184: #31 Gregg Harvey (Pitt) stalling DQ over Josh Nummer (ASU), 6:44 (Pitt leads, 18-16)

197: #9 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pitt) pins Jake Ortiz (ASU), 2:26 (Pitt leads, 24-16)

NOTE: Arizona State assessed a team penalty point (Pitt leads, 24-15)

285: #3 Cohlton Schultz (ASU) maj. dec. Jake Slinger (Pitt), 18-5 (Pitt wins, 24-19)

The Panthers will open ACC dual season next Friday at home against Virginia.