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Feb. 15, 2014

Game 1: Box Score | Game 2: Box Score

TAMPA, Fla. – The University of Pittsburgh softball team (4-5, 0-0 ACC) split on its second day of competition in the USF Invitational in Tampa, Fla. on Saturday with a win over Wright State and a loss to USF. The Panthers topped the Raiders, 2-1, in the morning match-up and fell to the hosting Bulls by a 5-1 score in the afternoon.

Pitt 2, Wright State 1

The Panthers snapped their four-game losing streak with a 2-1 walk-off win against the Raiders as Carissa Throckmorton delivered the game-winning hit on a liner to left field that scored Kaitlin Manuel from third base in the bottom of the seventh. Throckmorton went 3-for-4 with an RBI in the contest.

Savannah King (3-3, 2.62 ERA) picked up her third victory of the season after going seven strong with four strikeouts and one earned run allowed. Montana Wear (0-2, 3.87 ERA) was tagged with the losing decision after surrendering two runs on nine hits in total.

The Raiders were quick to take advantage of an early base runner in the top of the first inning after Jess Gorman reached base on a hit by pitch. Gorman hustled hard from first to third on a Reagan Stofcheck groundout and then easily scored on a ball hit through the left side by Libby Pfeffer to give Wright State an early 1-0 lead. However, after permitting the one run in the opening frame, King cruised through the second and third innings by forcing four groundball outs and a strikeout.

In the first at-bat of the bottom half of the third, Kaila Balatgek crushed a solo home run deep over the left-center field fence to tie the game at 1-1. Balatgek’s blast marked the first time Pitt had scored a run in 23 innings dating back to the first inning of the Panthers’ game against No. 2 Oklahoma on Feb. 9 in Fullerton, Calif.

Tori Nirschl led off the bottom of the fourth with a single roped to left field and was followed by a line drive off the wall by Carly Thea that the Raiders recovered quickly to keep the two Panthers at second and first base, respectively. Ashlee Sills slapped a hard grounder down the third base line in the next at-bat, but Stofcheck made an aggressive diving catch in shallow infield range to relay the ball back to shortstop Becka Peterson for the force out. Taylor Henry then stroked a single to left but Angie Clark connected with Kortney Tackett at home plate to tag out Thea, keeping the game tied at one run apiece.

With two outs in the top of the fifth inning, Gorman turned on a two-strike delivery from King to stretch a gap-shot to right-center from a double to a triple. Even with the go-ahead run standing just 60 feet from home, King remained steadfast by sawing off Stofcheck to force a soft groundball back to the circle that was tossed to first for the final out.

Peterson hit a one-out, stand-up double to left-center to begin the Raiders’ half of the sixth and Taylor Knore reached on an error to place runners at first and second. Jordan Fannin ran up to make a smooth diving catch on a shallow fly ball hit by Hanna Floyd to give Pitt the second out of the inning. Tackett grounded out to Maggie Sevilla at second base to keep the game knotted at 1-1.

Manuel provided timely offense for the Panthers off the bench when she doubled to left field to lead off the bottom half of the seventh. Manuel advanced to third base on a wild pitch but was kept still on the corner bag when Balatgek grounded out to Peterson at short. Throckmorton then manufactured the game-ending knock with two down in the final frame.

USF 5, Pitt 1

The Panthers fell to 4-5 on the season with a 5-1 loss to the Bulls this afternoon. Southpaw Sara Nevins (2-2, 2.33 ERA) highlighted the meeting between the former Big East Conference foes with a 10-strikeout performance in 5.2 innings pitched for USF. Alexa Larkin (1-2, 5.10 ERA) picked up her second loss of the season after allowing five runs on five hits in six frames.

Kourtney Salvarola opened the scoring with a solo shot to right-center field to give the Bulls a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Stephanie Medina drew a base on balls two batters later and was driven in by Lee Ann Spivey in the following at-bat on a two-run home run to left to favor USF with a 3-0 advantage after one.

In the bottom of the second, D’Anna Devine singled up the middle and followed with a clean swipe of second base. Devine moved on to third on an Ashli Goff groundball out and was then knocked home by Juli Weber on a base hit past second to make it a 4-0 ballgame.

Sara Nevins notched her 10th punch-out of the game in the top of the sixth inning, marking the second time the Panthers have been fanned in double digits during the USF Invitational (12 times vs. No. 1 Tennessee). Karla Claudio, who registered a strikeout against the first batter she faced, relieved Nevins with two outs in the inning.

USF managed to get runners at first and second in the sixth after a Spivey walk and Monica Santos fielder’s choice. Following a sacrifice bunt by Veronica Gajownik that moved both runners into scoring position, Claudio reached base safely on an infield single to load the bases with one out. Nicollette Levine batted in the Bulls’ fifth run of the game when she brought home Spivey on a sacrifice fly to make it 5-0.

Katherine Kramer led off the top of the seventh with a monstrous stand-up double off the left field wall that was just short of being the freshman’s first career home run. Balatgek re-entered the game in Kramer’s place and was moved over by Kathryn Duran on a grounder to first and subsequently scored on a wild pitch for Pitt’s first and only run of the game, 5-1.

The Panthers will play their final contest in the USF Invitational against Binghamton tomorrow morning at 9 a.m.

For the latest news and in-game updates on Pitt softball, follow the team on Twitter: @PITTSoftball

Panthers Split on Day Two of USF Invitational

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