The Pitt baseball team traveled to Raleigh, North Carolina, to face NC State in its first ACC series of the season. But all did not go to plan for the Panthers, as they dropped three straight games to the Wolfpack at Doak Field, falling to 6-7 on the year and 0-3 in conference.
In their ACC opener on Friday afternoon, the Panthers put up a fight in a back-and-forth affair, scoring two in the sixth inning on hits from Nico Popa and Kyle Hess after going down by a run in the first. They built that up to a 3-1 lead in the top of the seventh inning when a runner scored on a wild pitch, but that advantage was negated in the bottom of the seventh, when NC State plated three to go up 4-3. That would be the final score.
The second game of the series was played on Saturday afternoon and was easily the most disheartening result of the three, as the Panthers were dealt a 21-3 beatdown. Pitt was unable to avoid the lopsided outcome despite jumping out to an early 3-0 lead with ace Dan Hammer on the mound. Hammer got lit up for eight earned runs in three innings, and none of his relievers were able to prevent multiple runs from crossing the plate, either.
On Sunday, Pitt faced NC State once more and hoped to salvage the trip with a win, and to the team’s credit, it came close in a 5-6 loss. However, a herculean effort by David Yanni, who drove in four of Pitt’s five runs on a home run and a double, was not enough to overcome the early struggles of Panthers pitcher Chris Cappas, who gave up three runs in 1.1 innings.
Pitt head coach Mike Bell discussed the outcome in an interview after the game.
”Overall, I thought our offense and our team showed a lot of grit and fight today, battling back twice and having the tying run in scoring position in the ninth against a very good NC State team,” Bell said. “They showed why they are 15-0. They played well in all phases of the game all weekend long.”
With the trip to Raleigh out of the way, the Panthers will return to Pittsburgh for a six-game homestand at Charles L. Cost Field. There, they will face Penn State in their home opener Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET.