Kent State clobbers Pitt, 4-1


Thomas J. Yang

Redshirt senior Frank Maldonado slides into first base after attempting to steal second at Pitt’s 4-1 loss to Kent State Tuesday evening. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Visual Editor)

By Michael Nitti | Staff Writer

After falling behind early in the game, the Pitt baseball team was unable to catch up to Kent State, ultimately falling 4-1 to the Golden Flashes Tuesday.

The Panthers (17-12 overall, 6-9 ACC) lost to the Golden Flashes (18-10, MAC) in an out-of-conference matchup at the Charles L. Cost Field.

Kent State got out to an early lead in the first frame when junior third baseman Pavin Parks hit an RBI triple down the left field line. Sophomore designated hitter Patrick Ferguson followed with a two-run blast to put the Golden Flashes up 3-0 after one inning.

The Panthers threatened to score in the bottom of the second with two runners on and one out, but ultimately failed to put any runs on the board after back-to-back flyouts to centerfield ended the frame.

Despite getting tagged for three runs in the first inning, redshirt sophomore pitcher Derek West settled down afterwards, throwing a clean second and third inning while upping his strikeout total to four.

Junior outfielder Connor Perry (5) misses a catch during the first inning of Pitt’s 4-1 loss to Kent State Tuesday evening. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Visual Editor)

Junior catcher Cole MacLaren led off the bottom of the third inning with a single up the middle. When sophomore second baseman Alex Amos followed up with a bunt single of his own, Pitt looked primed to strike with the heart of the order coming up. But once again the Panthers failed to get any runners across and Kent State remained ahead 3-0.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, redshirt junior third baseman Liam Sabino led off with a double to left field, and advanced to third on a flyout by redshirt sophomore shortstop David Yanni. After redshirt senior center fielder Frank Maldonado was hit by a pitch — giving the Panthers runners on first and third with one out — Kent State pulled first-year pitcher Ryan Lane and replaced him with first-year Jack Zimmerman.

Senior first baseman Nick Banman grounded out to first, scoring Sabino for Pitt’s first run of the game and cutting the deficit to just two. But that’s all the Panthers got, as they still trailed 3-1 entering the seventh.

Consecutive one-out singles drove West out of the game, leaving runners on first and third as first-year pitcher Chase Smith came in. Kent State grew its lead back to three as first-year second baseman Greg Lewandoski hit a sacrifice groundout to score the runner from third base.

The Panthers’ bats remained cold during the last two innings — the team finished with only five hits while striking out nine times as they lost 4-1 in the end.

West’s loss marks his third of the year, as he lasted 6.1 innings and allowed four runs on five hits, along with seven strikeouts and two walks. Lane gets his first win of the year after dealing for 5.1 innings, while giving up just one run on four hits to go along with four strikeouts and one walk.

Pitt heads to Morgantown tomorrow to take on West Virginia in a makeup game for the 156th Backyard Brawl. First pitch is at 6 p.m.

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