Pitt wrestling took down its second ranked opponent of the 2018-19 season and improved to 7-0 on Saturday with a win at North Dakota State.
The No. 18 Panthers beat the No. 23 Bison, 22-11, the second ranked opponent Pitt has beaten this season. The Panthers’ seven consecutive wins to start the season are the most since 1986-87.
North Dakota State was staked to a big lead when No. 9 Brandon Fleetwood earned a 15-0 technical fall over Brandon Fenton, but the Panthers quickly chipped it away.
No. 5 Micky Phillippi got a 2-0 win over No. 17 Cam Sykora with an escape and a riding point and then seniors LJ Bentley and Robert Lee each won narrow decisions to put Pitt into the lead.
The Bison battled back, as Luke Weber beat No. 8 Taleb Rahmani, 10-4 — just the third loss of the season at 157 pounds for Rahmani — and then No. 20 Andrew Fogarty topped Pitt sophomore Jake Wentzel.
NDSU led, 11-9, with four matches to go, but wins by Gregg Harvey at 174 pounds and No. 13 Nino Bonaccorsi at 184 pounds put the Panthers in the driver’s seat. That set the table for Kellan Stout, who got just an escape and a riding point against Cordell Eaton at 197 pounds, but that was enough for a 2-0 win that clinched the meet for the Panthers.
No. 13 Demetrius Thomas added on with a 14-5 major decision over Dan Stribal.
Pitt won’t have much time to savor the victory, as the Panthers will travel from Fargo, North Dakota, to Brookings, South Dakota, to take on South Dakota State on Sunday. The Jackrabbits are 1-4 and lost, 30-10 to No. 14 Northern Iowa on Friday.