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Panthers Swept in Pair of Close Games at Houghton

Panthers Swept in Pair of Close Games at Houghton

Houghton, N.Y. -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford baseball team was back in action on Thursday evening as they traveled to Houghton for a doubleheader under the lights. The Panthers were able to stay close to the Highlanders but lost both games late.

Game 1:

The Panthers were able to erase a 5-1 deficit but lost on a walk-off 6-5.

  • Pitt-Bradford jumped ahead immediately as they were able to score before recording an out. Nico Hall led off the game and reached on an error and quickly moved to second base as a pick-off attempt was thrown away. Hall was then able to steal third base and score as the throw down was offline and wound up in left field. 
  • Starting pitcher Alex Fetter was able to keep the hosts off the board in the first. He struck out the first to batters he faced and was able to get a fielder's choice after walking back-to-back batters. 
  • After the Panthers were retired in the 2nd on a double play, the Highlanders were able to score 2 runs off of Fetter in the 2nd to take the lead. Houghton started the inning with a single and scored their first run with a wild pitch and a 1-out single to center. They loaded the bases with a walk and a fielding error and scored the second on a sacrifice fly to right.
  • Neither team was able to threaten to score in the third but after the Panthers left runners on the corners in the 4th, Houghton struck for three. The first two batters of the inning reached on a single and a walk. After a strikeout, both runners were able to score on a double to right-center. Fetter was able to get a groundout for the second out of the frame but gave up a run-scoring single that extended the deficit to 5-1.
  • Trent Bielak replaced fetter and struggled to find his control as he walked the first two batters he faced to load the bases. He was able to get the third batter looking to end the inning and strand 3 runners on base.
  • The Panthers were able to threaten with one out in the 5th but were unable to score. Maxwell Rogers drew a walk and moved to second on a Nico Hall single. Tyler Aires beat out an infield single to load the bases but Evan Fraglea hit a hard grounder into a double play to end the frame.
  • Bielak struck out the side in the 5th and was rewarded as the Panthers scored 4 runs with 2 outs to tie the game in the next inning. Following consecutive groundouts to start the inning Kevin Rehak dropped a single into center field and then was able to score all the way from first as David Gebhard doubled down the right-field line.
  • Noah Meyers was hit by a pitch and Maxwell Rogers singled back up the middle off the Houghton pitcher to load the bases. Nico Hall legged out an infield single to score the second run of the inning and Tyler Aires tied the game with a single up the middle.
  • Bielak got a ground out to start the bottom half of the inning but was lifted after giving up a one-out walk. He was replaced by Shawn Mannering who completed the shutdown inning with a strikeout and grounder to short.
  • In the 7th, Justin Dattoli singled to right with one out but was unable to advance any further. Mannering walked the leadoff batter to start the bottom of the inning and saw the runner move to second on a sacrifice bunt.  Houghton was then able to win the game with a single into left.

Shawn Mannering (1-1 picked up the loss after giving up the run in the 7th. Alex Fetter started and received a no-decision after allowing 5 runs, 4 earned on 5 hits, and 5 walks in 3 and 2/3 innings. He struck out 4. Trent Bielak logged 1.2 innings of scoreless relief work. He did not allow a hit, walked three, and struck out 4.

Offensively, three Panthers picked up multi-hit games. Tyler Aires went 2 for 4 with 2 runs batted in. Nico Hall and David Gebhard also went 2 for 4, with both players scoring a run and driving in another. Gebhard had the lone extra-base hit with his 6th inning double.

Game 2:

The second game of the day saw the Panthers take a lead with a 3-run third inning, but two late unearned runs led to a 5-4 loss.

  • Pitt-Bradford was once again able to jump ahead immediately and score in the 1st. Evan Fragela hit a two-out double to left and then scored when Jake McNabb singled. Justin Dattoli added a third consecutive hit, but the inning came to an end on a Trent Bielak groundout.
  • Ben Mulhall started for the Panthers but was unable to keep momentum with the Panthers as their run was matched in the bottom of the first. The Highlanders collected three consecutive singles to score the run. Mulhall was able to get a fielder's choice and a groundout to limit the damage to one run.
  • The Panthers threatened to retake the lead in the second as they loaded the bases when Bret Babcock was hit by a pitch, Andrew Bokulich singled to center and Nico Hall drew a walk. Unfortunately, they were unable to score as Kevin Rehak bounced into a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play.
  • Mulhall retired the side in order in the second but after the Panthers were kept off the board in the 3rd the Highlanders scored 2 runs with just one hit in their half of the inning. After a leadoff single, Houghton's runner stole second, third, and home to take the lead. Mulhall allowed w more batters to reach on a walk and then steal second around a groundout before the second run scored when a Houghton batter reached on a passed ball on strike three. Mulhall walked one more batter to load the bases but got back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning. 
  • Pitt-Bradford did not stay done for long as they scored 3 in the 4th to retake the lead. Gebhard and Babcock walked to start the inning and both advanced when Bokulich beat out a bunt single. Nico Hall was hit by a pitch to bring in the first run of the inning and a second scored when Rehak grounded into his second twin killer of the game. Bokulich was able to scamper home on a wild pitch to put the Panthers up 4-3.
  • Houghton was able to tie the game in the 4th with an unearned run. Mulhall struck out the leadoff batter but was lifted after an infield single, steal and balk put a runner on third with one out. He was replaced by Austin Kitcey who was able to get a grounder to first base, but an error on the play allowed the run to score. After a fly out to right Kitcey gave up a single to center and allowed the runner to move to second on a pitch in the dirt, but stranded the runners on second and third with a strikeout.
  • Pitt-Bradford was only able to muster a two-out walk in the 5th, but Kitcey was able to work out of another bases-loaded jam to keep the game tied. Kitcey gave up a single and two walks but was able to induce a grounder to third to get out of the inning unscathed.
  • The Panthers went down in order in the 6th, sending Kitcey back to the mound in a 4-4 tie. Kitcey walked the leadoff batter but was able to get two quick outs on a sacrifice bunt and fly out to center. He was replaced by Brayden Hageter who was able to get the first batter he faced to popup in the infield, but the ball was dropped, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Hageter walked a batter before striking one out to end the inning.
  • Evan Fragela drew his third walk of the game to lead off the 7th but was thrown out attempting to steal second after Jake McNabb hit a long flyout to left field. Justin Dattoli was set down on strikes to end the game.

Ben Mulhall received a no-decision after allowing 4 runs, 3 earned on 5 hits, and 3 walks in 3.1 innings pitched. He struck out 4 batters. Austin Kitcey was tagged with a hard-luck loss after being charged with the unearned run in the 6th. He allowed the unearned run on 2 hits and 4 free passes in 2.1 innings pitched. 

Andrew Bokulich was the only Panther to pick up more than one hit as he finished 2 for 3 with a run scored. Evan Fragela doubled in the first and scored a run, but was then walked in each of his last 3 at-bats in the game. Nico Hall and Jake McNabb each tallied a run batted in.

The Panthers fall to 6-11 with the sweep. They will be back in action next week as they will play a single 9-inning contest at Penn State-DuBois. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.