The Pitt baseball team hosted in-state rival Penn State at Charles L. Cost Field on Tuesday afternoon in its home opener for the 2019 season. While the game was competitive early, it eventually spiraled out of control for the Panthers, who ultimately suffered a 7-3 loss to the Nittany Lions.
Penn State opened up the scoring in the top of the second inning, as third baseman Justin Williams hit a double off of Pitt pitcher Christian Camacho to plate catcher Jacob Padilla and designated hitter Ryan Ford for an eatly 2-0 lead. Pitt answered later in the inning, as second baseman Gregory Ryan Jr. knocked in right fielder Nico Popa on a single to cut the lead in half. The Panthers would tie the game in the third, but that would be the last time the score was even as the Nittany Lions began to pull away in the fifth inning.
”Any time you’re in your own surroundings, it provides comfort for your guys, and I thought they came out with good energy today,” Pitt head coach Mike Bell said in an interview after the game. “They were excited for the beautiful day here for our home opener, things just didn’t go our way. We need to tidy up and shore up some things and play catch with the baseball.”
One thing Pitt will need to shore up before its next game is its pitching, as Camacho had his worst start since he faced Iowa on Feb. 16. In that game, he gave up six earned runs in 3.2 innings, setting the Panthers up for a 10-1 loss. However, he found his form and avoided giving up any earned runs until facing NC State on March 8. Those struggles spilled over into Tuesday’s matchup with Penn State, as he gave up two runs in three innings.
His relievers all failed to stop the bleeding, as each gave up at least one earned run, and that proved to be Pitt’s downfall.
The team will look to turn things around against Youngstown State on Wednesday, when the Panthers host the Penguins in their second home game of the year. The first pitch from Charles L. Cost Field is set for 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday.