March 24, 2009
PITTSBURGH — Junior Kevan Smith’s pinch-hit triple in the top of the 11th gave the University of Pittsburg baseball team its first win of the Papa John’s Classic held here in West Palm Beach, Fla. The Panthers produced 12 runs on 16 hits, both season-high totals.
Joe Leonard reached on an error, Philip Konieczny singled and Danny Lopez walked to load the bases for the Panthers before Smith’s first hit of the year cleared the bases.
Ricky Breymier (1-0) picked up his first win of the 2009 season, giving up just one hit in two innings of work. Nate Reed threw six solid innings, striking out five while allowing three runs in the no decision.
The Panthers (2-3) were led by Leonard, who went a game high 4-for-6 with an RBI and scored three times, as well as Frank Mercurio who went 2-for-5 with a game-high three RBI and 10 putouts. The Panthers scored a run in each of the first two innings to jump to a 2-0 lead off RBI singles from Leonard and John Schultz.
Mercurio’s three-run jack in the top of the fourth pushed the Panther lead to 6-1 after a Tristan Mulcahy error had allowed Cory Brownsten to score earlier in the inning. The Bonnies answered in the bottom half of the fourth when back-to-back RBI singles from Nick Cunliffe and Brian Steinbach cut the deficit to 6-3.
After Schultz’s two-out homer in the sixth put Pitt up 7-3, the Bonnies made a run in the bottom half of the eighth with Ryan Skellie and Anthony Randich each doubling and driving in two runs. Brandon Salerno added another RBI double to give SBU a one-run advantage heading into the ninth.
Leonard singled to start the inning and advanced to third with Mercruio’s second extra-base hit of the day, a double down the line. Lopez walked to load the bases before Nathan Hood’s pop-up was dropped by Skellie in right field, allowing the Panthers to tie the game and force extra innings.
After a scoreless tenth from both sides, Smith’s triple put Pitt up for good. Brownsten doubled to score Smith and give the Panthers a four-run cushion, essentially putting the game out of reach as David Kaye came in and enjoyed a one-two-three inning to close the game out.
Pitt continues to play in the Papa John’s Classic as they take on the Akron Zips tomorrow morning at 10:30 a.m.