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Matt Gilbertson’s Sterling Start Pushes Pitt to Series Win vs. No. 9 FSU

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It was almost deja vu for Pitt baseball on Saturday night. 

The Panthers (5-1 overall, 2-0 ACC) downed No. 9 Florida State (2-3 overall, 0-2 ACC) 7-2 on Saturday night, behind another sensational start from a Pitt pitcher. Junior Matt Gilbertson was brilliant and earned his first win of the season after shutting out the Seminoles for six innings. 

Just like in game one of the series, Pitt started fast. They loaded the bases in inning one, but were unable to score. After Gilbertson retired the Seminoles in order on 13 pitches in the bottom of the first, Pitt added three runs in the top of the second.

Junior catcher Riley Wash and sophomore infielder Brock Francis led off the frame with consecutive walks. Then, junior center fielder Jordan Anderson laid down a short bunt. Florida State catcher, freshman Cooper Nelson, fielded and threw the ball to third, hoping to cut down Wash. But Nelson’s throw went wide and sailed into left field. Wash scored easily to give the Panthers a 1-0 lead. 

Anderson stole second without issue, then junior left fielder Kyle Hess drove in him and Francis with a single to right field. Pitt chased the Seminole starter, hard-throwing freshman Carson Montgomery, in the first inning and gifted Gilbertson a 3-0 lead that he defended with precision. 

Gilbertson provided another dominant start for Pitt. After junior righty Mitch Myers carved up the Seminoles over six shutout innings on Friday night, Gilbertson was similarly sterling on Saturday. He also threw six shutout innings against Florida State in game two of the series, surrendering only five hits, one of them for extra bases, and a pair of walks. 

The Panther’s starter on the mound was steely calm and varied his pitch sequence expertly. He was creative, throwing breaking pitches early in counts, then finishing off at bats with a perfectly located fastball. This was a working sequence for Gilbertson, who recorded a career-high in strikeouts with 10.

Pitt struck again in the fourth inning. After sophomore leadoff hitter Sky Duff walked to open the top half, senior right fielder Nico Popa demolosihed his first home run of the season — a two-run shot — over the fence in left-center field to put the Panthers up 5-0.

 

Hess reached and drove in a run thanks to an error by Florida State’s redshirt first baseman Dylan Simmons in the top of the sixth, then Duff singled in another run in the eight. 

With Gilbertson’s night on the mound done, the Seminoles found brief comfort at the plate. Junior righty Chase Smith relieved Gilbertson and pitched a scoreless seventh, but was knocked around in the eighth. 

Smith allowed three hits and two earned runs, the only ones Pitt would allow the entire night. He finished the inning, but was quickly pulled in the ninth after giving up a leadoff walk. Senior reliever entered with one on and non one out, only to shut the door on Florida State’s comeback hopes by striking out the side.

Saturday night’s win was a landmark one in the history of the Pitt program. Not only was it their first ever series win over the Seminoles, but their first series win over a top-25 opponent since March of 2014, when they took two of three games from then No. 11 North Carolina. 

The Panthers will conclude their first conference series of the season against Florida State on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Seminoles will send redshirt junior righty Conor Grady to the mound to start that game. Pitt has not yet named a starter for Sunday’s game yet. The reason for typical starter junior Billy Corcoran’s absence is unknown.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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Crackerjack Kid
Crackerjack Kid
5 months ago

Another great showing from Pitt pitching. They played smart and held FSU in check. Nice job! Great game to watch on ACCN.

 
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