The Pitt baseball team got off to a slow start, kicking off the season by going 1-3 in the Sunshine State Classic, but the Panthers rebounded over the weekend, going 2-0 at the Wofford-USC Upstate Tournament in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In the tournament, Pitt picked up a 6-3 win over USC Upstate and an 8-2 win over Bucknell, improving to 3-3 on the year.
While the Panthers traditionally start their season in the South to avoid bad weather, they ran into a soggy couple of days in Spartanburg, forcing them to postpone the USC Upstate game and cancel a matchup with Radford. The USC Upstate game was postponed from Friday at 4 p.m. ET to Saturday at 1 p.m. ET, and the game with Radford was canceled after initially being scheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.
In Pitt’s first game of the weekend, the team fought through rain and weather delays to secure a win. Panthers pitcher Dan Hammer was dominant, striking out 10 batsmen and allowing just one earned run, one walk and three hits in four innings. His performance was aided by a four-run cushion that was built up in the first inning, thanks to a Nico Popa double, a Sky Duff single and a few errors.
Although Derek West gave up two runs while relieving Hammer, the Panthers added two more runs in the sixth inning, and that proved to be enough for the win.
”Today was a great challenge for our team to stay mentally focused and not worry about the things we can’t control, like the weather,” said Pitt head coach Mike Bell. “The focus and fight was there from first pitch to last pitch.”
Pitt followed up the win over USC Upstate with another over Bucknell on Sunday under more amicable conditions. In that game, Christian Camacho took the mound for the Panthers, giving up two runs and three hits and striking out five batters over four innings. Billy Corcoran, Chris Cappas and Brady Devereux were solid in relief, striking out seven batters and giving up zero runs in the last five frames.
Once again, Pitt jumped out to an early lead, scoring three in the first inning. Ron Washington Jr. batted in the first two on a double to left center. Popa added the third with a double of his own. The Panthers would add five more over the subsequent seven innings en route to an 8-2 win.
Pitt will be back in action on Friday at the Central Florida Invitational in Kissimmee, Florida. There, the Panthers will take on Hofstra at Osceola County Stadium at 5 p.m. ET on Friday, with games against St. Peter’s, Butler and Central Michigan set to be played over the following two days.