Pitt baseball rebounded in a big way on Saturday afternoon.
After dropping a frustrating season opener on Friday, the Panthers’ bats came to life on Saturday afternoon, spurred by a three-run top of the sixth inning and two-run top of the seventh. The offense was supported by strong efforts on the mound and Pitt (1-1) cruised to a 8-2 win over Indiana State (1-1) in day two of the Snowbird Classic.
Pitt opened the game like a team intent on erasing the five-hit shutout they endured on Friday. Junior left fielder Kyle Hess set the tone in the first inning with a diving catch to rob Indiana State’s Dominic Cusumano of a base hit.
In the following inning the Panthers drew first blood. Junior designated hitter Ron Washington Jr. singled to lead off the inning and advanced into scoring position after redshirt senior David Yanni walked.
The very next batter — junior first baseman Bryce Huellet — drove in the first Pitt run of 2021 with a single.
Indiana State wasted little time in mounting a response. In the bottom half of the second, redshirt sophomore outfielder Seth Gergley singled, allowing redshirt senior Max Wright to score easily from third.
The Sycamores briefly took the lead in the fourth inning whn freshman infielder Diego Gains knocked home another run with a single, but it wouldn’t hold. Junior righty Matt Gilbertson started on the mound for Pitt and would surrender only those two runs over five innings pitched. Gilbertson also demonstrated fine control by striking out three and walking none.
Redshirt junior right-hander Connor Cline, on the other hand, was pulled after just two-plus innings of less than stellar work. Cline, Indiana State’s ace, faced only 11 batters and walked two while giving up three hits and one earned run.
The Sycamore bullpen and defense was unable to cover for Cline’s short appearance. Indiana State’s next two pitchers — redshirt freshman Cam Edmonson and redshirt sophomore Zach Frey — gave up six runs in 4 ⅔ innings, during which the Panthers put the game away for good.
Junior infielder Sky Duff came through with the biggest hit of the afternoon for Pitt. His bases-clearing double in the sixth inning put the Panthers up 5-2 and rallied the Panthers to score three more times over the final three innings.
Pitt and Indiana State will finish their weekend series on Sunday with a noon first pitch. Junior left-hander Billy Corcoran is expected to start on the mound for the Panthers against the Sycamores’ redshirt senior righty Javin Drake.