The Pittsburgh Panthers baseball team opened their season in the Snowbird Baseball Classic with a 11-3 loss against the Canisius Golden Griffins.
Panthers starter Matt Gilbertson struggled with control early on, and allowed the first two batters to reach, slapping singles to right on back-to-back pitches. Gilbertson battled back to strike out five of the next six batters before running into trouble again in the third. It was death by a thousand paper cuts as Gilbertson surrendered four singles during the inning, and a pair of passed balls by catcher Tatem Levins contributed to three Canisius runs.
In the fourth inning, shortstop Kyle Kush laced a leadoff double to center. Left fielder Carlin Dick hit another to increase the lead to four. Gilbertson’s day ended after four innings, nine strikeouts, and three earned runs.
Canisius starter Matt Duffy pitched a two-hit shutout through five innings, along with eight strikeouts on the day. He loaded the bases during a two out rally in the fourth before inducing a Bryce Hulett flyout to escape.
C.J. McKennitt entered in the fifth, and promptly gave up a single, walk and a home run by designated hitter Mike Steffan to make it 7-0. Dylan Lester pitched a scoreless sixth inning in relief, and Pitt got two back on a home run from Levins in the bottom of the frame to end Duffy’s day. Another Steffan home run, this one-off Lester, made it 9-2.
After a leadoff groundout, Canisius reliever David Yankowski walked the bases loaded, then recovered by striking out consecutive batters to end the seventh.
The eighth inning saw the Golden Griffins pile on further, along with some unusual drama: Canisius first baseman Vinny Chiarenza was called out on batter’s interference. Panthers reliever Quin Konuszewski allowed a run on a wild pitch.
Brady Devereux, Pitt’s prospective closer, entered in the ninth for a warmup, even with the game out of reach, striking out three while giving up a home run.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Panthers loaded the bases off reliever Tom Peltier with a series of pinch hitters. Freshman Tommy Tavarez scraped in an RBI single, before Peltier induced a double play to end the game.