The Pitt baseball team had little trouble with Maryland Eastern Shore in a two-game mid-week series. Winning both games, the Panthers have now technically won two series’ in a row after not having won one all year to this point.
The Panthers (16-28) shut out the Hawks (10-39) in Game 1 on Tuesday, 11-0. The offense was good but the big surprise was pitcher Chris Cappas, who pitched seven strong innings, striking out eight while allowing only four hits.
“There’s no doubt the story of the game was Chris [Cappas], going seven strong innings and no errors from our defense,” head coach Mike Bell said after the game. “His ability to locate three pitches for strikes and pitch ahead in the count led him to a phenomenal job on the mound.”
Cappas has really struggled this year and entered the game with a 7.88 ERA that dropped to a more reasonable 5.48 ERA after the game just on the basis of this outing. Good games for him have been tough to come by and he hadn’t even gone longer than four innings this year before that game.
Pitt was even more dominant in Wednesday’s game. The Panthers took that one, 26-2. That isn’t a typo and, if you’re wondering, it’s the most runs they’ve scored since 1953 when they dropped 36 on IUP.
The box for Game 2 was brutal with Pitt scoring in every inning except one. To make matters worse, they put up those 26 runs in only eight innings since they were playing at home and didn’t need to bat in the bottom of the ninth. 14 of the runs came in the 7th and 8th innings.
The offense, of course, was the focal point. But one thing that shouldn’t be lost is that true freshman Mason Ronan made his first career start after pitching relief up to this point. He’s struggled a little this year in the relief role but is a strikeout artist and pitched well, giving up one run in four innings to earn the win. Ronan is one to watch for Pitt going forward and was a highly-touted prospect. He’s had some ups and downs this year but has 21 strikeouts in only 14 innings of work.
Ronan was actually drafted last year out of high school by the Boston Red Sox in the 29th Round, but he ultimately decided to join Pitt. I’m not sure what this year (1-0 with a 9.64 ERA) does to his draft stock but he’s a guy that has great potential and could be key to the team’s future along with fellow freshman Billy Corcoran who, similarly, was drafted before deciding to come to Pitt.
Back to this series, there’s no doubt that the competition was light. This is surely one of the worst teams Pitt will face all year. But the Panthers are a pretty bad team, too, and any win (particularly ones in this fashion) is a welcome sight.