Bats Awaken in Game Two, Pitt Splits Saturday Doubleheader with Harvard
After a thrilling opening game of a four game series between Pitt and Harvard at Centennial Park in Port Charlotte, Fla., game two of the series and the front end of a Saturday doubleheader featured a little bit of everything.
What was a strong pitching performance for both clubs throughout eight innings, turned into a hitting fest in the top half of the ninth that saw the Crimson pull away with an 8-4 victory.
With Pitt holding onto a narrow 2-1 lead, Harvard’s Ben Rounds stepped to the plate to start the ninth inning. Pitt’s Matthew Hernandez grooved Rounds a high fastball as he turned on it and sent it over the right field wall to tie the game.
Round’s round-tripper sparked an offensive onslaught for the Crimson. After Hernandez allowed a walk, Brady Devereux relieved him on the mound for the Panthers. On subsequent pitches, Harvard added two more runs with Logan Bravo roping one down the left field line for a double and then Jack Berger followed it up with a single to drive Bravo in.
Harvard would add an additional two more runs before chasing Devereux as Kyle Demi entered the game to pitch for the Panthers. With the bases loaded, Demi could not stop the bleeding as Peter Messervy sent a hard hit single into right field that brought home two more runs to give Harvard an 8-2 lead.
Looking for one final chance in the bottom of the ninth, Pitt attempted to rally by trading two runs for two outs on separate fielder’s choices. However, it was not enough as Harrison Stovern closed the door.
Stovern collected the win in game one of the afternoon for the Crimson after dealing three innings of two-hit baseball while allowing no earned runs.
Although Pitt experienced some pitching woes late in the game, the Panthers saw a successful outing from starting pitcher Ethan Firoved. The sophomore allowed four hits along with one earned run on the way to striking out nine batters.
Firoved was matched by a solid performance by Harvard starter Chris Clark who went six innings while not allowing an earned run as he mowed down 10 batters of his own.
While it took until the last inning in game one of the twin-bill, Pitt (3-3) jumped on Harvard (1-2) early in game two and the Panthers would not look back, winning 11-3 in seven innings.
The Panthers got on the board in game two by utilizing the long ball as CJ Funk drove one to right field off of Sean Matson for a two-run home run.
Pitt continued to cash in on extra base hits as AJ Nessler hit an RBI triple in the bottom of the third and was driven in shortly after with a double from Tommy Tavarez to extend the Panthers lead to 5-2.
After Matson was chased off the mound, Pitt added to its lead with yet another home run, this time from Friday’s hero Noah Martinez as he sent a shot to right field for a three-run bomb.
Through the first three games, Martinez has two home runs along with nine RBIs.
The Pitt bats were complemented by another excellent starting pitching job by Jack Sokol. The junior went six strong, allowing two earned runs while striking out five.
Dylan Simmons closed out the game for the Panthers in relief of Sokol as Simmons faced 13 batter while only allowing three hits on his way to six Ks.
With the Panthers splitting the doubleheader, they are in position to take the series from Harvard on Sunday. First pitch will be at 12:30 from Port Charlotte, Fla.