PITTSBURGH - The University of Pittsburgh baseball team put on an offensive show in the series finale with Maryland Eastern Shore Wednesday afternoon, defeating the visiting Hawks 20-1 to sweep the series at Charles L. Cost Field.
The Panthers out-hit the Hawks 15-6 as Pitt scored its most runs ever at Charles L. Cost Field. The 19-run margin of victory is the highest Pitt win at Charles L. Cost Field as the Panthers put together their biggest offensive performance of the season.
"The hitters did a great job at the plate," said head coach Joe Jordano. "When you score 20 runs, you're doing something right at the plate and I was very pleased with our approach. When you have back-to-back games mid-week, both teams are going to have pitching issues and we were a little deeper than our opponent this week. I thought our guys adjusted well, especially in this ballgame, after giving up an interesting run in the first inning and we're down 1-0 and we go in order in the bottom of the first inning and then come back. Overall, offensively the guys, in some of those situational at-bats did a great job and we put some big runs up. Any time you do that and play clean defensively like we did, and I thought we pitched pretty well, that's a good combination and good form for us."
Maryland Eastern Shore struck first in the opening frame, as a pair of singles plated a run and gave the Hawks a 1-0 advantage. That would be their only lead, however, as Pitt held the Hawks off the scoreboard for the remainder of the game.
Pitt answered in the second, scoring three to take a lead it would not surrender. Back-to-back singles by P.J. DeMeo and Manny Pazos put two on for Zach Zientarski, who would single up the middle to tie it at 1-1. Maryland Eastern Shore would head to the bullpen, as the Hawks grabbed a quick second out, but Pitt did not let up. Nico Popa would bunt in a run to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead and put men on the corners. Popa stole second before a walk was issued to Alex Amos, loading the bases. Jacob Wright drew a walk to bring another man home as the Panthers jumped out to a 3-1 advantage.
The Panthers' offense continued to devastate the Hawks in the third, scoring seven and jumping out to a nine-run lead. Pazos drew a one-out walk to get things going, moving to second on a throwing error that put runners on the corners. Zientarski would steal second before Nick Banman drew a walk to load the bases. Popa would draw another walk to bring home Pazos as Pitt went up 4-1.
A double into off the bat of Amos scored two more and left a pair of runners in scoring position as Wright drew his second straight walk to again load the bases. A wild pitch would move the runners up, allowing Popa to score. Parry doubled to center to clear the bases before Frank Maldonado singled to put runners on the corners. A single up the middle by DeMeo would score Parry, as the Panthers captured a 10-1 lead.
A solo homer by Banman in the fourth gave the Panthers a double-digit lead, 11-1.
Pitt's offense didn't stop there, as the Panthers were able to plate two more in the sixth. After Amos was hit by a pitch and Wright drew his third walk of the outing, Parry would reach on a fielder's choice that put runners on the corners with just one out for Maldonado, who would send a sacrifice fly to left to score Parry. DeMeo was struck by a pitch in his second straight at bat and Alex Griffith would draw a walk to load the bases. Zientarski took a pitch to the back, allowing Parry to score as Pitt gained a 13-1 lead.
Two more runs for Pitt would come across for the Panthers in the seventh as the home team took a 15-1 lead. An error would allow Popa to reach to start the inning as Amos was hit by a pitch to put two men on. The Hawks got a pair of quick outs but a double down the left field line by Maldonado scored Popa and a single through the left side by DeMeo scored Amos.
In the eighth, a single and a pair of walks loaded the bases for Wright to walk in another run, giving the Panthers a 16-1 lead. With the bases full, Parry would send a grand slam over the wall in left to clear the bases, putting the Panthers up 20-1. The grand slam was the first by a Pitt hitter since Bennette Hill hit one at West Virginia on April 30, 2013.
Reliever Isaac Mattson would come on in the ninth and get a trio of quick outs to end the game as the Panthers defeated the Hawks 20-1.
With the win, Pitt improves to 21-21 (8-13 ACC) on the season. Dan Hammer, who tossed two innings of scoreless relief, allowing just two hits and no walks, fanning two, earned the win to improve to 3-3 on the year. Offensively, Parry led the charge, going 2-7 with six RBIs and three runs scored. DeMeo was 2-5 with two RBIs while Maldonado went 2-6 with two RBIs. Every Panther batter reached base at least once as Pitt put together a 15-hit performance.
The Panthers will return to ACC play this weekend, traveling to Georgia Tech for a crucial three-game series with the Yellow Jackets. The series opener is set for 6 p.m. on Saturday, as Pitt will face off with Georgia Tech on Sunday at 6 p.m. on Root Sports Pittsburgh and at 7 p.m. on Monday on ESPNU.
"We want to win, that's for sure," added Jordano. "From our perspective, there's really nothing different that we are going to attempt to do, we know our formula, we know what we need to do, regardless of opponent, regardless of situation we have to do what we're capable of doing. We'll be there. We'll be competitive. We can't control everything, but those things that we do control, we'll be on top of it and I feel very confident that we'll have a competitive weekend."
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