Golden Flashes blind Panthers, 2-0


Thomas J. Yang

Redshirt freshman Derek West (46) surrendered one run on four hits and one walk to go with five strikeouts during Pitt’s 2-0 loss to Kent State. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Visual Editor)

By Michael Nitti | Staff Writer

After winning a huge series against Georgia Tech this past weekend, Pitt baseball looked to stay hot and get revenge on nonconference opponent Kent State. In the second of two matchups between the two clubs this season, Pitt failed to get a runner across home, losing 2-0.

The Panthers (19-15) suffered a shutout loss against the Golden Flashes (23-10) Wednesday in what was a pitchers duel. Pitt managed to hit just 3-for-28 as a team while leaving seven runners on base.

This was the second time in two weeks Kent State beat Pitt, with last week’s score being 4-1.

The Panthers found themselves in an offensive standoff early on. Both teams went scoreless through three innings, with redshirt sophomore Derek West on the mound for Pitt and redshirt senior Jared Skolnicki taking the hill for Kent State.

Pitt got its first runner in scoring position in the fourth inning as redshirt senior center fielder Frank Maldonado stood on third base with two outs. But Maldonado was left stranded as senior first baseman Nick Banman grounded out to end the inning.

The Golden Flashes drew first blood after five scoreless innings. First-year Kent State outfielder Nick Elsen drove a pinch-hit RBI single up the middle to put Kent State up 1-0.

Following his phenomenal outing for the Panthers on Saturday, sophomore pitcher RJ Freure impressed once again, getting Pitt out of a jam in the sixth inning and throwing a clean seventh inning. He went 1 1/3 innings with two strikeouts, one walk and one hit.

The Panthers found themselves in a prime spot to take a lead in the top of the eighth inning. Designated hitter and redshirt senior Caleb Perry came to the plate in the cleanup spot with the bases loaded and two outs, but he was unable to come through, as he struck out swinging to end the inning.

Kent State added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a solo shot from Elsen. Elsen finished the game 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBIs.

The Panthers offense was stifled in the end — they wound up losing the game 2-0. This has been the constant story for them lately, as they’ve been held to one run or less in four of their last five losses.

Despite the no-decision, Skolnicki cruised through the Panther lineup over 5 1/3 innings, striking out three while allowing no runs on two walks and two hits. Redshirt senior Robert Ziegler was awarded his first win of the season, pitching one inning of relief with one strikeout and one walk.

West was no slouch either, going 5 2/3 innings surrendering just one run on four hits and one walk to go with five strikeouts, but he was handed his fifth loss.

The Panthers will look to get back on track in ACC play as they travel down to South Beach this weekend to take on Miami in a three-game series. First pitch on Friday is at 7 p.m.

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