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Pitt’s Stunning Rally Secures Win Over No. 7 Georgia Tech



For the second consecutive game, Pitt baseball entered the late innings of an ACC contest dead to rights. But just as they did in the series finale against Duke last Sunday, the Panthers snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and emerged with a crucial win on Friday night in Atlanta.

Pitt (8-3 overall, 5-2 ACC) entered the top of the ninth inning trailing 8-4 to No. 7 Georgia Tech (8-4 overall, 5-2 ACC) and ended it leading by three. The Panthers scored seven times in the final frame to secure a stunning series-opening win over the Yellow Jackets and earn a tie for first place in the ACC Coastal Division.

Georgia Tech’s ACC-leading offense got hot quick. Twice in as many at bats, freshman designated hitter Stephen Reid doubled and was knocked in by timely hits from the bottom of the order. In the second, it was fellow freshman Jake DeLeto, the starting left fielder, who drove Reid home and in the fourth, freshman right fielder Tres Gonzalez’s second two-bagger of the evening plated Reid.

The Yellow Jackets scored three more times in the sixth, but none of them were charged to Pitt starting pitcher Mitch Myers.

Despite his early struggles, Myers survived 5 ⅔ innings on the bump, striking out seven, walking just one and allowing two earned runs while throwing a season-high 117 pitches.

The Panthers, meanwhile, struggled to find offense. Pitt hitters were aggressive — swinging at first pitches often — with little success. But in the seventh inning, something clicked in the away dugout.

Junior lefty Brant Hurter started on the mound for Georgia Tech and was working on a shutout before the Panther bats finally woke up. Junior catcher Riley Wash led off the inning with a single, then sophomore shortstop Brock Franks doubled to left-center. Two pitches, two hits and Pitt was threatening for the first time all evening.

After sophomore designated hitter Sky Duff walked to load the bases one batter later, Hurter was pulled in favor of freshman righty Zach Maxwell. He turned up the heat, recording two outs quickly behind a dominant fastball that topped out as high as 98 miles per hour.

Maxwell seemed to have reestablished control over the game in favor of the home team. He induced a fly ball from Pitt’s junior clean-up hitter Ron Washington Jr. that was supposed to end the inning and the threat. But Gonzalez inexplicably dropped the ball and because every Panther on base was running on contact, all three runners scored.

Maxwell completed the remainder of the inning with a strikeout. Either side added a run in their half of the eighth and entered the ninth with four runs still separating them.

In the final frame, senior second baseman David Yanni quickly cut the deficit in half with a 2-run home run over the left-center field fence. Three singles later, Duff walked with the bases loaded to add one more run and make the score 8-7 Georgia Tech.

One batter later, junior right fielder Kyle Hess singled through the left side. His base knock plated two, including the go-ahead run. The Panthers had taken their first lead of the game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

They would add three more before the inning was over. Washington once again was the beneficiary of a booted fly ball by junior center fielder Colin Hall, who’s error allowed Washington to clear the bases.

Senior closer Jordan McCrum allowed one run in the bottom half of the inning, but struck out a pair of batters to secure the win and his third save of the season.

Junior righty Matt Gilbertson will start on the mound for Pitt on Saturday night in game two against redshirt junior righty Andy Archer. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on the ACC Network.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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3 years ago

Turned it off after the 7th, figured it was over. Won’t do that again!

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