March 2, 2013
Kissimmee, Fla. -- The University of Pittsburgh softball team (8-6) swept on its second day of competition in the Citrus Classic Saturday afternoon with a 13-5 five-inning win against LIU-Brooklyn and a 13-0 five-inning win against Fordham.
The Panthers put on an impressive performance at the plate scoring 26 runs on 27 hits in just 10 innings played. Pitt extended its current winning streak to three games with what was a total team effort that featured many significant offensive and defensive contributions.
Taylor Henry, who drove in a pair of runs to win yesterday's game against James Madison, recorded four hits and led the team with seven RBI on the day. Savannah King had four hits as well posting five RBI and Holly Stevens totaled four hits with three RBI and four runs scored.
Pacing the Panthers on the bases were Carissa Throckmorton and Tori Nirschl, who each scored seven runs. Throckmorton went 5-for-9 with three RBI and Nirschl, nearly hitting for the cycle against Fordham, had four hits, three walks, and three RBI.
Not only was Pitt anchored by its bats this afternoon, but it was also heavily dependent upon stellar efforts on the mound from Alexa Larkin and King. Larkin went all five innings against LIU-Brooklyn recording six strikeouts and allowing just one base on balls. King battled through Fordham's lineup holding them to zero runs in a five-inning outing that featured two strikeouts.
Game One: Pitt 13, LIU-Brooklyn 5
Henry put the Panthers on the board first in the opening frame of the game with a double to center field that scored Throckmorton from third and Stevens from second to make it a 2-0 game. Henry later scored on a mishandled ball in the outfield hit by King with Kathryn Duran then driving in King from third later in the inning to up the lead to 4-0.
In the top of the second, Throckmorton followed up a Nirschl walk with a single to center advancing Nirschl into scoring position. Stevens, 2-4 against LIU-Brooklyn, then recorded her second hit of the game with an RBI-single to put Pitt ahead, 5-1.
With runners on second and third following a Blackbird passed ball, Throckmorton crossed home on a throwing error by the third baseman on a ball put in play by Henry to give the Panthers six runs on the day. King and Carly Thea continued with RBI-singles to improve Pitt's advantage over LIU-Brooklyn to a seven-run lead, 8-1.
The Panthers continued to pile on with RBI-knocks from Throckmorton and Henry to make it a 10-1 game in the top of the third inning. The Blackbirds, however, responded in the bottom of the fourth with a bases-loaded single by Madison Green scoring two runs to cut the lead to 10-3.
King closed the book on LIU-Brooklyn with a three-run home run to left field in the top of the fifth inning to grant Pitt a strong 10-run lead at 13-3. Despite a two-run shot by Green in the bottom of the inning, Larkin mowed down two batters in the fifth to end the game at a 13-5 score in the Panthers' favor.
Game Two: Pitt 13, Fordham 0
Pitt started off its second game of the day with back-to-back solo home runs from Nirschl and Throckmorton to take a 2-0 lead. After a perfect bottom of the first from King on the mound, Stevens and Henry highlighted the second inning each with two-RBI-singles as the Panthers batted around to make it a 6-0 game.
With nobody out and runners on second and third in the bottom of the third, King kept herself from harm's way with the assistance of solid defensive play from her infielders. Pitt escaped potential damage with consecutive force-outs at the plate and a frame-finishing strikeout from King.
Duran sparked a rally in the top of the fifth inning with a single to center field. Kaila Balatgek and Jordan Fannin followed with consecutive bunt singles to load the bases before Nirschl drove in two with a hit to left field to give the Panthers a 10-0 lead. Pitt pressed the Rams with production at the plate for the remainder of the inning to jump to 13 runs while Fordham remained scoreless.
With one half-inning remaining to close the gap to continue play, the Rams forced King into a no-out, bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the fifth. Again the Panthers' defense rose the occasion nailing three straight runners out at the plate to end the game with Pitt out front, 13-0, for its second win of the day.
The Panthers close their weekend in the Citrus Classic tomorrow morning against Fairfield at 11:15 a.m.
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