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Pitt Baseball Smacks Kent State, 12-5



Two four-run innings by Pitt was enough to defeat Kent State, 12-5, on Tuesday night at Schoonover Stadium in Kent, Ohio. With the win, Pitt is now 20-12 on the season and 7-7 in the ACC. The Panthers have won nine of their last 11 games.

Pitt scored 12 runs off just nine hits, as Kent State walked 10 Pitt batters and six of the Panthers’ runs came via issued walks. In contrast, the Flashes had 13 hits, but scored just five runs. Twelve runners were left on base and eight were left in scoring position.

Kent State struck first after an RBI by Aidan Longwell to put the Golden Flashes up 1-0 at the bottom of the first. Pitt got a 1-2-3 double play to end the inning. The Panthers answered in the top of the second after Jeffrey Wehler tripled to the right center and brought three runs home. Rocco Bernadina walked two of the three runners who got home and was pulled after giving the triple up to Wehler.

Calvin Bickerstaff replaced Bernadina and Tatem Levins hit a single to right field to bring Wehler home to enhance Pitt’s lead to 4-1. Bickerstaff retired the next batter and put an end to the inning. The Panthers scored four runs in the top of the second with two outs.

Kent State scored a run after a wild pitch by Jonathan Bautista in the bottom of the second to cut Pitt’s lead to 4-2. Bautista ended up striking out Justin Kirby to retire the side.

Dragani replaced Bautista in the bottom of the third and pitched two innings, giving up no runs and two hits. Ryan Miller relieved Batista in the bottom of the fifth and gave up a triple and a walk to put runners on the corners. Pitt then made a mid-at-bat pitching change and replaced Miller with Dylan Lester. Lester was down in the count 2-0, and Justin Miknis roped one down the right foul line for an RBI double to bring Kent State within one run at 4-3. Lester struck out the next batter and retired the side with two runners left on base.

In the top of the sixth, CJ Funk tripled to center field, followed by Dom Popa grounding out to second base, which brought Funk home and put Pitt up 5-3.

Kyle Jackson hit a solo shot home run to right field off Lester to bring the Flashes within one run at 5-4 in the bottom of the sixth. With runners in scoring position, Pitt made another mid-at-bat pitching change and Konuszwski relieved Lester. Konuszwski struck out the batter and closed out the inning.

The Panthers got their sixth run of the game after a bases-loaded walk. Three more runners came home after Kirby dropped a pop fly, increasing Pitt’s lead to 9-4. Pitt managed to score four runs on just one hit in the top of the seventh.

Kent State earned a run in the bottom of the seventh, while Pitt got two insurance runs in the top of the eighth after an RBI double by Sky Duff that brought Wehler home.

In the top of the ninth, Tommy Tavarez hit his third home run of the year to increase Pitt’s lead to 12-5. Brady Devereux closed things out for the Panthers in the ninth to secure the win.

Pitt’s next game is on Friday, April 15, against No. 5 Virginia at Charles L. Cost Field, with first pitch coming at 6 p.m.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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