The Pitt baseball team traveled to Florida to take part in the Snowbird Classic over the weekend, and the team went an impressive 3-1. The Panthers logged wins over Indiana State, St. Joseph’s and Iowa, with its only loss coming against Ohio State. All of Pitt’s wins came at North Charlotte Regional Park in Port Charlotte, Florida, and its one loss came at CoolToday Park, the Atlanta Braves spring training ground, in North Port, Florida.
Pitt vs. Indiana State: 11-1 win
Pitt’s first win of the season came over an Indiana State team coming off a 43-18 season that came to an end in the NCAA tournament. The Panthers, who were coming off a 21-34 campaign in 2019, beat the Sycamores 11-1 on Valentine’s Day thanks in part to three early home runs by Kyle Hess, Riley Wash and Ron Washington Jr. that put Pitt up 6-0 by the end of the fourth inning. Each of the three batters would drive in another run, as would Bryce Hulett, bringing Pitt’s run total to 11.
The team also got a great start out of Billy Corcoran, who pitched five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. Indiana State was not as lucky, as Sycamores pitcher Collin Liberatore gave up six earned runs in a span of four innings. Corcoran was credited with the win.
Pitt vs. St. Joseph’s: 14-8 win
The Panthers’ second matchup got off to a similar start, as the team ran out to a 4-0 lead over St. Joseph’s by the fourth inning. However, the Hawks battled back and took an 8-7 lead in the eighth inning. Pitt would tie the game on a Ron Washington Jr. home run, but the game would go on for five more innings before it was resolved by a six-run outburst by Pitt in the 14th inning that would go unanswered.
The Panthers got big performances out of Samuel Frontino and David Yanni, who had three runs batted in each. And after a tough start for Chris Cappas, Chase Smith and Grant Powell gave up zero runs in the final 6.1 innings to secure the win. Powell was credited with the victory and logged five strikeouts, allowing zero walks. The game was Pitt’s longest of the trip, as it lasted five hours and 12 minutes.
Pitt vs. Ohio State: 1-4 loss
Pitt’s lone loss of the weekend came against Ohio State, as the Panthers fell to the Buckeyes 1-4 on Saturday. Ohio State went 36-27 last season, and like Indiana State, the team reached the opening round of the NCAA tournament. However, both teams were knocked out by Vanderbilt, a perennial powerhouse in college baseball.
Although Ron Washington Jr. opened up the scoring for Pitt with an RBI single that drove in Jordan Anderson in the top of the first, Pitt would fall behind, as Mitch Myers gave up the lead in the bottom half of the inning. He would give up another run in the fourth inning, and Mason Ronan would allow two more in relief, bringing the final score to 1-4, Buckeyes.
Pitt vs. Iowa: 10-8 win
In the team’s final game of the season-opening competition, Pitt defeated Iowa 10-8. The game was a back-and-forth affair that saw the Panthers come out on top after a clutch showing late in the game.
Once again, Pitt opened the scoring with a run in the first. However, Iowa would take the lead in the third inning with four unearned runs. Pitt would tie the game with three runs the next inning, and after both teams added a run in the seventh, the score sat at 5-5. The Panthers got in trouble late, as they gave up three runs in the eighth. But they responded by scoring five. Once again, it was Ron Washington Jr. who came through in the clutch, as he hit a three-run double to put Pitt up 9-8.
Kyle Hess would get Washington home on a double to bring the score to 10-8, and Chase Smith would finish off the Hawkeyes in the top of the ninth to secure the win.
Next up for Pitt is a three-game series with Eastern Michigan in Sanford, Florida, that begins on Friday. The Panthers will close out the month in Sanford before returning home to face Youngstown State in their home opener at Charles L. Cost Field on March 3.