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Young Panthers Learn Tough Lessons in Opening Weekend

Pitt Athletics

Young Panthers Learn Tough Lessons in Opening Weekend

After knocking off Villanova, 7-2, in their season opener on Friday, the rest of the Diamond 9 Sunshine State Classic Series did not got the way the Pitt Panthers were hoping.

Pitt lost the final three games of the weekend, dropping a 1-10 decision to Iowa on Saturday morning before losing 7-2 to Marshall on Saturday evening. On Sunday, Pitt led 4-0 early, but a five-run fourth inning propelled Milwaukee to a 9-8 victory.

With the losses came plenty of lessons to be learned by the young Panthers, as Pitt leaned heavily on young players in it opening weekend.

“Overall it wasn’t the weekend we were looking for in terms of wins and losses,” head coach Mike Bell said. “But, as we continue to grow as a team and as a program, we will definitely be able to use some of this weekend’s teaching moments to strengthen our team moving forward. There’s still a lot of baseball to be played, I’ve always said if you allow the game to teach you, it will and we can learn something about our team each and every day.”

IOWA 10, PITT 1

It was a trial by fire for four new Pitt pitchers on Saturday morning. Junior college transfer Christian Camacho made his first start with Pitt and highly rated freshman lefty Mason Ronan made his first collegiate appearance, but they were not happy debuts, as Camacho gave up six over 3 2/3 innings and Ronan was part of a Pitt bullpen that surrendered another four runs over 4 1/3 innings as the Panthers were routed by Iowa.

Connor Perry hit his first home run of the season as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning.

MARSHALL 7, PITT 2

It was yet another Pitt debut, freshman pitcher Billy Corcoran got the nod in Saturday’s nightcap, and was touched for runs in both of his first two innings before settling down, but the three runs were enough for Marshall, as the Pitt bats were held mostly silent.

Ron Washington drove in Cole MacLaren with a double in the sixth, but the Pitt bullpen yielded one run in each of the final five frames to allow the Thundering Herd to pull away.

MILWAUKEE 9, PITT 8

Sunday’s contest was one that Pitt let slip away, as the Panthers built early leads of 2-0 and 4-2, but a five-run fourth inning doomed the Panthers.

First-time starter Chris Cappas, who played only outfield as a freshman a year ago, seemingly had things under control until an error by freshman third baseman Sky Duff let one run score. Cappas got another out, but his day ended after an run-scoring single tied the game. Fireman Derek West came on in relief, but another error set up three more Milwaukee runs.

Pitt made a late charge in the ninth, when Cole MacLaren hit an RBI double, Kyle Hess singled to drive him home. Two walks later, Nico Popa drove a run in on a fielder’s choice, but freshman Kris Soto struck out with the tying run 90 feet from home plate.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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