Junior Kaila Balatgek
April 19, 2014
PITTSBURGH - In front of 557 fans on Senior Day at Vartabedian Field, the University of Pittsburgh softball team (15-24, 6-14 ACC) won a pair of games over Georgia Tech (21-20, 10-14 ACC) on Saturday afternoon by scores of 4-3 and 3-1.
Timely hitting and great pitching were on display for the Panthers today. Alexa Larkin and Savannah King combined for a 1.50 ERA while allowing just four runs all day and struck out eight batters. Larkin got the start in both games and pitched 6.1 total innings en route to picking up her seventh win of the season, while King tossed 7.2 innings of relief work while earning a win and save.
"I thought we played well in all three phases of the game today," head coach Holly Aprile said. "Alexa and Savannah pitched very well and we had some huge hits and played solid defense. Our pitching set the tone for the day and they did a good job of keeping the Georgia Tech hitters off balance."
Game One: Pitt 4, Georgia Tech 3
Carissa Throckmorton provided a bases loaded, two-RBI single in the third inning which propelled the Panthers to a 4-3 series opening victory against the Yellow Jackets.
Pitt jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Tori Nirschl hit her first triple of the season, while was promptly followed by Maggie Sevilla's 30th RBI of the year. Both hits came with two outs.
Georgia Tech would take its first lead of the game in the third inning when the Yellow Jackets scored two runs on two hits, including a two-RBI single from designated player Kanani Cabrales. That lead would not last long though, as Pitt responded with two runs in the home half of the third.
With one out, Jordan Fannin reached base on a fielding error from Tech's short stop Ashley Thomas. Carly Thea would then be awarded first base on catcher's interference, and Nirschl loaded the bases with a walk. Two batters later, Throckmorton took the first offering from Kylie Kleinschmidt and drove it through the middle infield which plated two and gave Pitt its second lead of the game at 3-2.
Pitt tacked on a much needed insurance run in the fifth inning on an RBI single from Kaila Balatgek which scored Nirschl. Pitt withstood a seventh inning rally from the Jackets as Georgia Tech scored one run on an RBI single, but with runners on the corners, Savannah King got pinch hitter Caitlyn Coffee to strike out swinging which ended the game. King earned her fourth save of the season and the eighth of her career.
Game Two: Pitt 3, Georgia Tech 1
Pitt scored all three of its runs in the fourth inning and a joint effort in the circle from Larkin and King helped Pitt complete the doubleheader sweep with a 3-1 victory.
Tech's only run came in the top of the first inning on a solo home run from Alysha Rudnik, who smacked her team-high 10th round-tripper of the season.
Pitt would then rally in the fourth inning behind Taylor Henry's clutch pinch hit. Balatgek and Ashlee Sills led off the inning with consecutive hits, and then Henry's RBI single scored Balatgek from second.
During the play, Georgia Tech's first baseman Karly Fullem was the cut off person on the throw from the outfield, and her throwing error trying to get Henry out at second allowed Sills to trot home from third, giving Pitt a 2-1 lead. Jordan Fannin then squeezed an RBI single through the right side of the infield which made the score 3-1.
Georgia Tech would leave two base runners on in the fifth, but that would be all the pressure the Yellow Jackets would apply as King retired Georgia Tech 1-2-3 in both the sixth and seventh innings.
The Panthers will look for the much needed sweep tomorrow afternoon with Pitt and Georgia Tech conclude the three game series at Noon. Click here for live stats and video, and follow @PittSoftball on Twitter for in-game updates.
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