Ft. Myers, Fla. -- The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford nearly erased a pair of 8 run-deficits late in their games on Saturday, falling to Western Connecticut State and SUNY Delhi by one run each.
The Panthers started their day against Western Connecticut State. They fell behind 8-0 through 4 and a half innings, but battled back, eventually falling to the Colonials 8-7.
- The Panthers served as the home team for the first time this week and fell behind almost immediately as the second batter of the game hit a home run to center field off of starting pitcher Lindsay Steele. Steele walked the next batter, but go the cleanup hitter to line into a double play to end the inning.
- After Faith McLaughlin reached on an error in the bottom of the first, the Panthers were retired in order to end the inning.
- Steele seemed to settle down after the first inning long ball, as she retired the side in order in the 2nd. The Panthers also went down 1-2-3 in their half of the inning.
- Steele lost some of her control in the 3rd, as the Colonials were able to add three runs to their lead. Steele walked two batters around a fly out to start the inning and uncorked a wild pitch that allowed them to move to second and third. Western Connecticut then hit a single to center which allowed both runners to score, with the batter taking second base on the throw home. After a stolen base, Steele walked another batter and the Colonials were able to score a second run as the throw down to second on a stolen base allowed the third run of the inning to cross the plate. Steele was able to strand a possible 4th run at third base as she ended the inning with a strikeout and a fly ball to right.
- Pitt-Bradford looked to rally in the third as singles from Madison Camp, McLaughlin and Kindra Wessels loaded the bases with just one out. Lexi Peters came to the plate and hit a hard one drive back up the middle, which was snagged by the pitcher and thrown to third to end the threat.
- Neither team was able to score in the 4th as Steele allowed a leadoff double, but catcher KT Marx was able to throw out the runner trying to steal third before Steele got a pop-up and strikeout to end the free. Marx then hit a two-out single in the Panthers' half of the inning but was left on first as Chloe Cordova lined out to end the 4th.
- Ashley Stein replaced Steele to begin the 5th and immediately ran into trouble as she gave up a leadoff double. The next batter served a single to right, which was misplayed in the outfield allowing the run to score and the batter to move all the way to third. After a bunt attempt was contacted outside of the batters' box for an out, Stein gave up three hits and a walk, allowing the Colonials to score three more runs to go ahead 8-0. She was replaced by Meghan Kapp, who got a strikeout and a groundout to end the inning.
- Needing to score to extend the game, the Panthers put together a two-out rally to score 5 runs. Madison Camp started the inning by drawing a walk but was only on second base after two popups. With two down, Kindra Wessels also drew a walk, bringing Peters back to the plate. Peters hit a ground ball to shortstop and was able to reach on an error to bring in the first run. Wessels then took advantage of an errant throw back to the pitcher to score the second run.
- Imani Jackson walked to continue the rally before Daytona Wentzel hit a single through the left side of the infield to bring in pinch-runner Sadie Wood. KT Marx drew the fourth base on balls in the inning to load the bases and Cordova came through with a clutch 2-run single to right-center to cut the lead to 8-5.
- Kapp returned to the circle in the 6th inning and was able to keep the Colonials off the board to keep the momentum with Pitt-Bradford. She to the first batter to ground out to short, and then after a single, received some help as Marx threw out her second base stealer of the game. She got another grounder to short to end the inning.
- The Panthers continued their rally in the 6th, scoring two more runs. Dolcey Shunk led off the inning by beating out an infield single to short. After two more popups, Peters drove a single through the left side and Jackson drew another walk to load the bases. Wentzel came up with the big hit in the inning, grounding a 2-out double down the leftfield line. The hit looked to clear the bases, but the ball found the gap in the outfield fencing, limiting Wentzel to a double and the Panthers to two runs.
- Kapp came back out to the circle for another inning of work, and quickly retired Western Connecticut to get the Panthers back into the dugout and on offense. Cordova started the 7th with a leadoff walk, but was replaced on the bases as Shunk grounded into a fielders choice with one out. Faith McLaughlin hit an infield single to put the go-ahead run on base, but Wessels was caught looking to end the game.
Lindsay Steele (0-4) was tagged with the loss after giving up 4 runs, 3 earned on 3 hits and 5 walks. She struck out four. Meghan Kapp pitched the final w and 2/3 innings and limited the Colonials to just 2 hits while striking out 2 batters.
Wentzel finished the game 2 for 4 with 3 RBIs and a run scored. Faith McLaughlin was the only other Panther to record a multi-hit game as she finished 2 for 5. Chloe Cordova went 1 for 3 and drove in two runs.
The Panthers took on SUNY Delhi in their second game of the day with a familiar face in the opposing dugout. Former Panther Meagan Stone (Hillard) now serves as the head coach of the Broncos and was facing her former coach and team for the first time. The Panthers jumped ahead early but saw the Broncos take the lead in the 4th. After a delay in the 6th, The Panthers cut a 9 run lead down to 1 in the 7th before falling short for a 14-13 loss.
- Starting pitcher Kindra Wessels put up a quick zero in the top of the first for the Panthers and was rewarded with two runs in the bottom half. Wessels helped her own cause, leading off with a single through the right side. She moved to second base when Rachel Przybysz beat out a bunt single. Both runners moved to 2nd and 3rd on a sacrifice bunt from Faith McLaughlin and Wessels scored when Lexi Peters hit a sacrifice fly to center. Przybysz took third on the throw home and then scored when Paige Wertheimer beat out an infield single.
- Wessels shut down the Broncos in the 2nd but saw the Panthers' offense unable to add on in the second. In the third, Wessels walked the lead-off batter who was able to quickly move all the way to third on a stolen base and ground out. With one down, Wessels gave up a single through the left side to bring in a run.
- Pitt-Bradford was able to get the run right back in their half of the inning. Przybysz led off with a single over third base and was soon joined on the bases By McLaughlin and Wertheimer who each drew walks. Marguerite DeFranco hit a deep fly down the left-field line that was caught but served as a sacrifice as Prybysz was able to score on the play.
- The tide suddenly turned against the Panthers in the 4th as the Broncos exploded for 8 runs in the inning. After retiring the first batter of the inning, Wessels was chased as Delhi hit back-to-back doubles to score the first run. Lindsay Steele entered the game in relief but was not able to fare much better as the Broncos welcomed her with seven straight hits, scoring 5 runs. Steele slowed the rally with a pop-up but a wild pitch and single brought two more runs around. Steele struck out the next batter to end the inning with the Panther trailing 9-3.
- The Panthers went down in order in the 4th and Steele was replaced by Meghan Kapp in the 5th. Kapp walked the leadoff batter but quickly got an out on a fielder's choice. The runner on first moved all the way to third on consecutive wild pitches before Kapp got a strikeout. With two outs, the Broncos were able to line a single into right to score their 10th run of the game.
- In the 5th, the Panthers stranded a runner on 2nd after a two-out Peters single and a wild pitch, but Kapp was able to retire the side in order in the 6th to keep the Panthers down 7 runs. After the inning, the game went into a rain delay as a gusting rainstorm passed through the area.
- After the 30 minute delay, the Panthers were able to score 2 runs in the 6th. Hannah Fisher hit a single back up the middle with one out and moved to second when the Broncos committed an error on a Sadie Wood grounder. Delhi got one out on a fielders' choice, but the Panthers scored two when a Kapp single to right was misplayed, allowing Wood and Cordova to score.
- Kapp struggled to find her rhythm as she returned to the circle in the 7th. She walked the first three batters of the inning and was replaced by Ashley stein. Stein allowed two singles to start her outing but got a run-scoring double play to begin to slow the rally. She allowed one more single to bring in the 4th run of the inning before getting a line out to center to end the frame.
- As they did in their first game of the day, the Panthers battled to the last pitch, scoring 8 runs in the 7th inning. Faith McLaughlin led off the inning with a single to left and took second as the ball was bobbled in the outfield. After a pop-up, Wertheimer hit a double to the gap in right-center, to score the first run of the frame.
- The Panthers quickly loaded the bases as DeFranco was hit by a pitch and Fisher dropped a single into center field. All three runners advanced on a wild pitch and the Panthers added a third when Wood reached on an error. Cordova followed the error with a single to left to bring in Fisher, as both runners moved up a base as the Broncos committed an error on the cutoff.
- Grace Gardner pinch-hit for the Panthers and was walked to reload the bases before McLaughlin hit a bases-clearing triple to left field to cut the lead all the way down to 2 runs. Lexi Peters followed this with a line drive over the centerfielder's head for a run-scoring double. Peters moved to third on a wild pitch, But Wertheimer went down swinging, bringing the game to an end.
Kindra Wessels got a no-decision after starting the game and allowing 3 earned runs in 3.1 innings of work. The Panther bullpen struggled against the Delhi lineup, allowing 11 runs on 11 hits and four walks over the final 3.2 innings. Lindsay Steele (0-5) received the loss. Offensively, the Panthers finished with 15 hits. Hannah Fisher finished the game 3 for 4, while Rachel Przybysz, Faith McLaughlin, Lexi Peters, Paige Wertheimer and Chloe Cordova all had two hits. McLaughlin scored two runs and drove in 3, while Peters and Wertheimer brought in 2 each.
The Panthers fall to 3-11 after the two tight losses. They will be in action for their final games in Florida on Sunday, as they have a doubleheader starting at 1:00 p.m. They will start their day against Brockport, before closing their trip with a matchup against SUNY Canton.