Feb. 29, 2008
Princess Anne, Mary.-A last-minute schedule change brought the Pitt baseball team one of it's most successful days in the program's 69-year history. The Panthers were scheduled to travel to Chillicothe, Ohio this weekend for a three-game series with Youngstown State, but inclement weather conditions forced Pitt to make a quick schedule change. Instead of Ohio, the Panthers traveled to Maryland Eastern Shore for a weekend-series against the Hawks and Rhode Island.
In the opening game of the weekend, Pitt (2-2) rolled to a 25-3 win over host Maryland Eastern Shore (0-6) Friday afternoon. The win marked the 21st time in the program's history that the Panthers have scored 20 or more runs. The last time they were able to do so was in 2004 under head coach Joe Jordano in a 20-5 win over Buffalo.
Pitt jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first when third baseman Joe Leonard (FR/Dawson, Pa./Connellsville) ripped an RBI-single down the third-base line, scoring teammate Danny Lopez (SO/Queens, N.Y./Monsignor McClancy).
Leonard went on to tally four key hits for the Panthers, going a career-best 4-5 with two RBI and three runs-scored.
Maryland Eastern Shore responded in the bottom half of the inning scoring two off Panther starter Nate Reed (SO/Reading, Pa./Oley Valley), as the Hawks took advantage of a pair of hits, including a triple by right fielder Pat Hercinger, taking a 2-1 lead.
The Hawks added a run in the bottom of the second, after keeping the Panthers off the board in the top-half of the inning to extend its lead to 3-1. This would mark the last time the Hawks would hold the advantage as Pitt went on to score 20 runs over the next three innings.
Reed, along with relief pitcher Josh Smith (FR/West Lawn, Pa./Wilson West Lawn) and the Panther defense kept Maryland Eastern Shore from crossing the plate through the remainder of the game.
Pitt scored seven times in the third inning, getting RBI-hits from center fielder Jordan Herr (RS SO/Lancaster, Pa./Delaware), catcher Nick Mullins (SR/Brick, N.J./Brookdale Community College), left fielder Sean Conley (SR/Chippewa, Pa./Blackhawk) and first baseman Morgan Kielty (JR/Burlington, Ontario/Burlington Central). Pitt also used three walks and three Hawk errors in the inning to take an 8-3 lead.
Lopez notched the best showing of his career, tallying four singles and a double in the contest to set a new career-game-high as he went 5-7 with a career-game-high five RBI. Lopez also scored a team- and career-game-high four runs in the contest.
The Panther offense continued to roll, as Pitt notched five runs in the fourth inning and eight runs in the fifth. Four Panthers ripped RBI-doubles over the course of the two-inning battering. Right fielder Matt Litzinger (JR/Pittsburgh, Pa/Serra Catholic) notched a two-RBI-double down the right field line, to start Pitt's scoring drive in the fourth. Litzinger went on to tally a career-game-high four RBI in the contest.
Lopez notched three of his five RBI in the fifth, with a bases-clearing double to left. Two batters later, second baseman Dan Williams (SR/Berwyn, Pa./Episcopal Academy) ripped an RBI-double of his own into center field. Conley brought in Pitt's seventh and eighth runs of the inning with another RBI-double to right, late in the inning as the Panthers gained a 21-3 advantage.
Pitt went on to add four to board, one in the seventh and another in the eighth for the game's final score of 25-3. The Panthers tallied 20 hits in the contest, with six players tallying two or more hits and five notching extra-base hits.
Reed (1-1) picked up his first win of the season, as he went 7.0 innings, allowing just three runs and striking out eight Hawk batters. Smith closed the game for the Panthers, making his collegiate debut with 1.0 inning pitched, while giving up zero hits and zero runs.
With 25 runs, the contest marked the second-highest runs-total for the Panthers in the program's history, with the all-time record being 36 runs-scored against Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1953, a game Pitt won 36-6.
Today's win also marked third-largest margin-of-victory in the program's history, and the largest in the Jordano era.
Pitt will be back in action tomorrow as it faced Rhode Island at approximately 3 p.m. The Panthers will conclude play in Princess Anne, Mary. on Sunday as they will face the Hawks again at approximately 3 p.m.