BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – A six run fifth inning propelled the University of Pittsburgh softball team (2-4) to a 7-3 victory against South Dakota State (4-7) on Friday afternoon in Pitt’s opening game of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic hosted by Western Kentucky.
Trailing 2-1 entering the home half of the fifth, Pitt erupted for six runs on seven hits to seize control of the game. Maggie Sevilla, Carissa Throckmorton and Ashlee Sills all had an RBI in the inning, while Throckmorton hit her first homer of the season over the right center field fence.
The Panthers tallied a season-high 11 hits, led by Savannah King (3-for-3) and Sevilla (2-for-4). The Panthers also scored a season-best seven runs as seven different players crossed the plate.
King registered her first win of the season in the circle as she pitched five innings, allowing four hits and two runs. Alexa Larkin spelled King and went two innings while giving up three hits and one run.
“It was great to see us make some adjustments offensively after the first time through the lineup,” head coach Holly Aprile said. “Putting up six runs in the fifth inning was huge. I thought both of our pitchers did a really good job and our offensive balance was evident as seven different players scored runs.”
Pitt manufactured its first run of the game in the bottom of third when Sevilla singled home Tori Nirschl from second base. Nirschl led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch, and was then sacrificed to second by Carly Thea. Two batters later, Sevilla dropped the ball between shortstop and left field to score Nirschl.
The Jackrabbits responded with two runs in the top of the fifth for a 2-1 advantage, but their lead would not last as Pitt sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the inning.
Thea led off the inning with a single, which was followed by a double by senior Holly Stevens down the left field line. With runners on second and third and no outs, Sevilla singled to left which scored Thea, however, Stevens was thrown out at the plate trying to score on the play. The next batter was Taylor Henry who singled, then came all the way around as she and Sevilla scored on a throwing error by third baseman Elyse Eitel as the ball trickled all the way to the right field wall. Throckmorton then hit a solo blast for the fourth run of the inning. After a walk by Kaila Balatgek and a double by King, Balatgek and pinch runner Carmelena Moffa crossed the plate on an RBI single by Sills.
SDSU tallied one run in the sixth courtesy of an RBI double by Kori Seidlitz to make the score 7-3, but that would be it for SDSU. Sills ended the game by throwing out Devan Larsen at home as she was trying to score from second base.
The Panthers out-hit the Jackrabbits 11-7 and did not commit and error, compared to four by SDSU.
Pitt looks to continue its momentum tomorrow with two games, starting with Western Michigan at Noon CST (1 p.m. EST). The Panthers and Western Kentucky will square off at 2:30 p.m. CST. Both games will take place at Buchanon Field.