Pitt swept its four-game weekend series against Central Connecticut and Lehigh in Sanford, Florida to improve to 10-1 on the 2020 season.
With 10 wins in their first 11 games, Pitt has its best start since 2002, when the Panthers started 10-0-1, and they are tied for their second-best start overall. Pitt also started 10-1 in 1963, 1967 and 1993.
• Kyle Hess got the weekend started with a huge day at the plate on Friday against Lehigh. Hess went 3 for 5 with a pair of doubles, driving in three runs as Pitt scored 11 runs in the seventh and eighth innings to run away from the Mountain Hawks.
Sky Duff hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Samuel Frontino hit two-run shot in the seventh as the Pitt offense exploded in a 15-4 win.
Chris Cappas (1-0) made his second start of the season and pitched five innings of one-hit ball while striking out nine. Chris Gomez, Dylan Lester and Brady Devereux closed down the lopsided victory.
• In the second game of Friday’s doubleheader, the Panthers trailed Central Connecticut State after 6 1/2 innings, but Ron Washington Jr. blasted a three-run home run in the bottom of the seventh to lead the Panthers to a 7-5 win over the Blue Devils.
Bryce Hulett hit a two-run homer int he fourth and an RBI single in the sixth.
Billy Corcoran started and went 6 1/3 innings, while allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits. Two of his five hits were home runs, with both coming in the fifth inning for three runs. He struck out nine and walked one.
Grant Powell (2-0) worked the final 2 2/3 innings and earned the win in relief.
• On Saturday, Mitch Myers (2-1) and Mason Ronan combined for a one-hit shutout as the Panthers dominated Lehigh, 10-0. Myers struck out 10 over six innings and retired 18 straight Lehigh batters after allowing an infield single to start the second. Ronan kept it going with a 1-2-3 seventh, finishing the shortened game.
Hess finished a single shy of a cycle, going 3 for 3 with six RBIs. He hit a solo homer in the second, a two-run double in the third and a three-run triple in the fourth. Chasing the cycle, he walked on four pitches in the sixth inning.
• Sunday, Matt Gilbertson (2-0) kept the strong pitching rolling, working five innings of shutout ball and the Pitt offense once again provided the fireworks in a 14-2 win over CCSU. Hess, Nico Popa and Ron Washington each drove in three and Pitt scored seven in the fourth inning and six more in the fifth to erase any doubt about the series finale.
Hess had an RBI groundout in the third, a run-scoring double in the fourth and an RBI single in the fifth. Popa singled home Duff and Cameron Barto in the fourth and drove in Jordan Anderson in the fifth.
Washington brought around three with a bases-loaded double in the fifth.
• Hess’s huge weekend rocketed him into the team lead with 18 RBIs. He’s now hitting .354/.404/.667 on the season with seven doubles, a triple and two home runs.
The Panthers will return to Oakland for their 2020 home opener against Youngstown State on Tuesday at 3 p.m. before making another trip to Florida for three games against Miami to open ACC play March 6-8.