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April 5, 2017

 
LORETTO, Pa. - The University of Pittsburgh softball team outlasted Saint Francis (Pa.), 8-3, in a nine-inning showdown Wednesday afternoon at Red Flash Softball Field in Loretto, Pa.
 
Trailing 3-1 heading into what could have been its final at-bat, the Red Flash [27-9] tied the game on a two-run homer, forcing extra innings. Following a scoreless eighth, the Panthers [18-16, 1-11 ACC] went to work, scoring five runs to seal the 8-3 win.
 
At the plate, Pitt tallied 10 hits with both sophomore Olivia Gray and junior McKayla Taylor producing home runs. Gray, in addition to senior Kaitlin Manuel and freshmen Valerie Ortega and Alexee Haynes each had two hits on the day. Five different Panthers recorded RBIs, while three players were hit with pitches.
 
In the circle, freshman Brittany Knight started the game for Pitt. She gave up three hits and one run, while striking out three in 4.0 innings pitched for the Panthers, before being relieved by junior Kayla Harris. Harris closed out the game, giving up the two runs in the bottom of the seventh before holding Saint Francis scoreless the remainder of the game.
 
HOW IT HAPPENED
Pitt opened the scoring in the top of the third inning, taking a 1-0 lead on a two-out, RBI-double by Haynes. Junior Erin Hershman scored on the long-driven ball after being walked to get things going for the Panthers and advancing to second on a single by Ortega.
 
The visiting team went ahead 2-0 after a solo shot by Gray in the top of the fourth, but Saint Francis cut the Panthers lead back to one in the bottom half of the frame after junior Madison Cabell went yard over the right field fence.
 
Pitt added an insurance run in the seventh as Taylor sent a homer over the left field fence to put the Panthers out in front 3-1, but it wasn't enough as a two-run shot by SFU junior Jordan Seneca, following a leadoff walk, would tie the game 3-3 and send the contest into extra innings.
 
Following a scoreless eighth, Pitt took control of the game in the following inning, scoring five runs to take an 8-3 lead. With runners on first and third after back-to-back walks a wild pitch, sophomore Taylor Myers laid down a perfect squeeze bunt to score Hershman from third. Another walk to sophomore Alexis Solak loaded the bases for Gray, who was hit by a pitch to bring in run number two of the inning. A single by Manuel continued the frame, scoring Myers. An error by the Red Flash and another bases-loaded walk put across the final runs of the inning.
 
SFU threatened in the bottom of the ninth with a single and a walk but Harris would sit down the next three batters to close out the game.
 
UP NEXT
Pitt begins a 10-game homestand that features ACC series with Virginia Tech, Syracuse and NC State, along with a contest against Ohio State.
 
Pitt Outlasts Saint Francis, 8-3, in Nine Innings

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