May 6, 2008
PITTSBURGH--The Pitt baseball team hosted the first day of the Panther Classic today at Trees Field. After the first day of play was cancelled due to some scheduling problems, the Classic got underway this afternoon with two games, the first between Central Michigan and Coppin State, in which the Chippewas prevailed by a count of 13-2 after seven-innings due to a 10-run rule. CSU was back in action for game two against the Panthers, a game that also ended after the seventh inning with the score 17-3.
After both teams posted scoreless first innings, the Panthers pounced in the second with a little two-out lightning that produced three runs. Senior Nick Mullins (Brick, N.J./Brookdale CC) plated two of those runs with a single that was mishandled by the Eagles' left fielder, allowing him to scamper over to third while teammates Chris Warner (West Seneca, N.Y./University of South Carolina) and Dan Williams (Berwyn, Pa./Episcopal Academy) came home to give Pitt a 2-0 lead. One batter later, Mullins crossed the plate after Matt Litzinger (Pittsburgh, Pa./Serra Catholic) hustled out an infield single, upping the Panther lead to three.
Pitt added another run in the third and proceeded to put the game out of reach in the fourth with an eight-run outburst that included two-run homers from Litzinger, Williams and sophomore Danny Lopez (Queens, N.Y./Monsignor McClancy). Mullins capped the effort with two more RBI on a single up the middle that scored Jordan Herr (Lancaster, Pa./Delaware) and Joe Leonard (Dawson, Pa./Connellsville), while raising his RBI total on the day to four.
The Eagles would try to mount a rally in the fifth with three runs off of starter Mike Wood (Endicott, N.Y./Union Endicott), but that proved to be the Pitt hurler's only hiccup of the day as his final stat line showed six strike outs to go with the six hits that were scattered over the game's seven innings. He went on to pick up the victory, his first of the season.
While Wood was keeping the Eagle bats at bay, Pitt's offense added another run in the fifth and four more in the sixth, three of which came around on a Chris Tonte (Pittston, Pa./Lackawanna CC) long ball that cleared the wall in left field.
The Classic will conclude tomorrow with two more games from Trees Field. Pitt will play Central Michigan at 12 p.m. and then return to the diamond at 3 p.m. for a rematch against the Eagles.