The bats were back again for Pitt baseball in the rubber match of this weekend’s series vs. Indiana State. Pitt’s offense dominated the middle innings and made Sunday’s game barely a contest.
Pitt (2-1) shut down Indiana State (1-2) in the finale of this weekend’s Snowbird Classic and moved their record above .500 for the first time this season. Under the sunny skies of Port Charlotte, Florida, junior left-hander Billy Corcoran delivered four innings of shutout ball in his first start of the year and the offensive tandem of juniors Kyle Hess and Bryce Hulett combined for six RBIs as the Panthers cruised to a 10-1 game and series victory.
The game remained at a scoreless stalemate through the top half of the third inning. Corcoran and his counterpart on the Sycamore side, redshirt sophomore righty Javin Drake, scattered three hits over that span.
But after squandering a scoring opportunity in the second, Pitt broke through in the third. Senior outfielder Nico Popa reached base on a throwing error and the Panthers immediately capitalized. Hess drove in Popa with a double to left field.
An inning later, the Pitt offense put up a crooked number. Drake was chased at the beginning of the inning and his replacement, redshirt senior Will Buraconak, didn’t fare much better. Junior designated hitter Ron Washington drove in a run with a hit, then redshirt senior shortstop David Yanni did the same by getting hit. With the bases loaded, Yanni’s hit-by-pitch drove in another run.
Hullet drove in the third run of the inning with a single, but Yanni was picked off at second trying to take an extra base.
It abruptly ended the rally but Hess returned with a vengeance one inning later. He drove in two more runs with a two-out single.
Indiana State struck late in the top of the sixth. Redshirt freshman Diego Gains walked to lead off the inning and advanced to third after a hit and sacrifice fly. Redshirt junior Brian Fuentes brought Gains home for the Sycamores’ lone score of the game with another sacrifice fly to make it 6-1 in favor of the Panthers.
Pitt added four more runs over the next two innings behind run-scoring hits from junior centerfielder Jordan Anderson, sophomore infielder Sky Duff and Hulett.
A pair of freshman — left-handed pitcher Chris and outfielder Dom Popa, younger brother of teammate Nico — made their debuts on Sunday for Pitt. Pouliot was awarded the win after tossing two innings and surrendering one run while Popa was 0-1 in his lone pinch hit appearance.
The Panthers will remain in the Sunshine State for a midweek game against Jacksonville University on Tuesday. First pitch against the Dolphins is scheduled for 6 p.m.