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Panthers Split on First Day of Citrus Classic

Tori Nirschl went 5-7 with two runs today.

Tori Nirschl went 5-7 with two runs today.

March 1, 2013

No. 13 Louisiana-Lafayette 8, Pitt 0 | Pitt 3, James Madison 2

Kissimmee, Fla. — The University of Pittsburgh softball team (6-6) split on its first day of competition in the Citrus Classic in Kissimmee, Fla. on Friday with a win against James Madison and a loss to No. 13 Louisiana-Lafayette.

Taylor Henry drove in two runs on a walk-off single to the left side of the field in the bottom of the seventh inning to top James Madison (7-4), 3-2, in the Panthers’ second game of the day. In its opening contest against Louisiana-Lafayette (14-2), Pitt lost in six innings by a score of 8-0.

Tori Nirschl went 5-for-7 on the day with two runs scored out of the leadoff spot and Henry paced the team with two RBI. Southpaw Alexa Larkin pitched a complete game (seven innings) against James Madison allowing just two earned runs with three strikeouts and one walk.

Game One: No. 13 Louisiana-Lafayette 8, Pitt 0      

The Panthers held the Ragin’ Cajuns scoreless in the opening frame of the game, but were unable to halt Louisiana-Lafayette’s power at the plate moving forward. The Ragin’ Cajuns scored eight runs on 13 hits and were carried by Christina Hamilton on the mound, who pitched five innings in relief of Victoria Brown striking out four and allowing no runs.


 

 

Pitt, however, remained active at the plate throughout the game tallying seven hits in total as a team. Nirschl had two hits in three at-bats and led the team’s offensive charge in the day’s first game. Henry, Savannah King, Holly Stevens, Carissa Throckmorton, and Lauren Vinson had one hit a piece as well.

Game Two: Pitt 3, James Madison 2

After two scoreless frames, the Panthers manufactured back-to-back hits from Nirschl and Ashlee Sills to place runners on first and third with no outs in the bottom of the third inning during a tie game, 0-0. Stevens then stepped up to the plate to deliver a line-drive-single to center field scoring Nirschl from third to give Pitt its first lead of the day at 1-0.

Larkin limited James Madison to minimal damage in the top of the fifth when the Dukes had the bases loaded with nobody out following a walk and two base hits up the middle. The Dukes were kept to just two runs in the inning but took the lead to make it a 2-1 game in their favor.

With their backs against the wall after James Madison pitcher Heather Kiefer sat six batters down in a row heading into the seventh inning, Kathryn Duran came up big with a base on balls after pinch hitting for Carmelena Moffa with one out on the board.

Nirschl, who went 3-4 with two runs scored against the Dukes, moved Duran into scoring position with a base hit up the middle. Ashlee Sills then walked to load the bases for Stevens, who hit into a fielder’s choice that resulted in a close play at the plate leaving the Panthers just one more out to work with before the game’s conclusion.

With the bases loaded in a two-out predicament, Henry quickly turned on Sarah Mooney’s pitch driving the ball to the left side allowing Carly Thea to tie the game while Sills rounded third to cross the plate as the game-winning run, 3-2.

Pitt will play LIU Brooklyn tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 p.m. and Fordham at 4:45 p.m.