PITTSBURGH – The University of Pittsburgh baseball team fell to Kent State in a mid-week contest on Wednesday, 12-8 at Charles L. Cost Field. Senior P.J. DeMeo and redshirt senior Jacob Wright each homered in the outing as a 15-hit performance from the Golden Flashes proved the deciding factor.
The Panthers scored eight runs on six hits, but Kent State’s offense was carried by 15 hits and three multiple-run innings to propel them to victory.
Pitt (16-18, 7-11 ACC) fell to 2-3 in mid-week contests this season and 0-2 against the Golden Flashes (21-12, 7-2 MAC) this year.
The Panthers used seven different pitchers in the ballgame. Sophomore Tyler Garbee received the most work, pitching 2.1 innings and was the recipient of the loss.
Kent State put up a three spot in the top half of the first inning to take the early lead. After reaching by a hit by pitch to start the inning, the Golden Flashes strung together three straight singles. With two outs, a wild pitch scored Kent State’s third run of the inning. Adam Cornwell walked the batter at the plate and was relieved after 0.2 innings pitched in his first career start as a Panther. Garbee came into the game in relief in the first inning and retired the first batter he saw to end the inning.
The Golden Flashes added to their lead after shortstop John Matthews began the inning with a double. Matthews reached third on a groundout and scored on the ensuing at-bat, another groundball. Garbee influenced his third straight ground ball out to end the inning, but not before Kent State stretched their lead to 4-0.
The Panthers drew even in the bottom half of the second inning. Junior Nick Banman walked to begin the frame. DeMeo doubled off the left field wall and freshman Alex Amos singled up the middle to drive in two runs. With two outs and Amos on second, a walk, a hit by pitch and two walks with the bases loaded helped Pitt tie the game 2-2 after two frames. Sophomore Yaya Chentouf and redshirt junior Frank Maldonado were each credited with a run batted in from the walks.
Sophomore Alex Griffith walked to begin the bottom of the third inning. Griffith advanced to second on a groundout, and to third on a wild pitch with freshman Nico Popa at-bat. Popa walked to then make it runners on the corners with two outs. Popa then stole second, forcing a throw from catcher Pete Schuler that sailed into the outfield, allowing Griffith to score and put Pitt in the lead, 5-4.
The lead didn’t last for long, as Kent State climbed back in front 9-5 with a five-run showing in the fourth inning, led by five doubles in the frame. Junior TJ Pagan came into relief and recorded all three outs of the inning and was charged with a run.
DeMeo helped cut into the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning, when he hit a home run over the left field wall. The solo shot cut the lead to 9-6 and was DeMeo’s third home run of the season.
Kent State first baseman Dylan Ross hit a two-run shot off freshman hurler RJ Freure in the top of the sixth inning to extend the Golden Flashes lead to 11-6. A pair of singles, with a wild pitch sprinkled in between helped push Kent State’s 12th run across.
Redshirt junior pitcher Dan Furman tossed 1.0 innings in relief, a season-high. He allowed just one hit in a scoreless seventh inning. Senior Sam Mersing recorded two strikeouts in a scoreless eighth inning while junior pitcher Isaac Mattson turned the same feat in the ninth inning with two strikeouts and no runs allowed.
The Panthers chipped the lead down to 12-8 in the eighth inning after Wright hit a two-run home run to right field, his third home run of the season.
After opening their nine-game home stand on Wednesday, Pitt will welcome fourth-ranked North Carolina to the friendly confines of Charles L. Cost Field for a three-game series with games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The series opener is set for 6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 21.
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