Panthers sweep Mavericks at home

Panthers sweep Mavericks at home

The Pitt-Bradford baseball team is finding its groove.

Behind solid starts from pitchers Bobby Sorokas and Mike Para as well as another impressive offensive showing, the Panthers (6-7 overall, 5-1 AMCC) swept Medaille at the Kessel Athletic Complex Wednesday, 5-3 and 8-5.

"I'm continuing to see a gritty determination," said Pitt-Bradford coach Bret Butler. "They're playing well as a team and as a unit."

It started with the starting pitching, as Sorokas and Para, while not flashy, pounded the strike zone, continually got ahead in the count and were efficient with their pitches.

In the 5-3 seven-inning win in the first game, Sorokas polished off his second complete game of the season. He struck out four, walked two and stranded nine Maverick base runners.

Medaille actually struck first in game one on a sacrifice fly from Ryan Markiewicz, who came into the day hitting .439.

The Panthers took the lead in the third inning, however, getting all the offense they needed. Following a walk to catcher Kody Johnston, Borowski knocked a ball into the gap for a stand-up triple, easily scoring Johnston.

Medaille shortstop Jake Tyno aided the Panthers rally, as he committed two errors in the inning after the Borowski triple, brining in two more runs.

Sorokas, meanwhile, made the four spot stick, as he allowed just single runs in the fourth and fifth innings.

Borowski provided some insurance in the sixth, belting a ball over the left field fence for his fifth homer of the season.

"We're really hitting the ball," Butler said. "They're being patient, keeping their weight back and really starting to drive the ball."

  Game two, a nine-inning contest, saw an even better offensive performance from Pitt-Bradford. They collected six extra base hits and built an 8-1 lead in the sixth inning.

An RBI single from Ethan Lear got things going in the third and the Panthers scored four runs in the sixth, including a two-run home run from Johnston, his first of the season. That came after an RBI double from freshman Jay Clinger and was followed by an RBI knock by Jean Turber.

"After we got back from Florida, we just had the approach that we're going to draw more walks and when our walks go up, our hits are going to go up," Butler said. "We got some timely hits and I'm just proud of them. They're taking a scrappy, blue-collar approach."

Para, meanwhile, was on cruise control, allowing just three hits through six innings, needing just 52 pitches do get to that point.

He ran into a little bit of trouble in the eighth, however, aided by a UPB miscue.

Following an outing that saw him give up three earned runs with zero walks and three strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings, he gave way to James Iverson, who came in with the bases loaded.

Iverson yielded a single and a hit-by-pitch that cut the deficit to three, 8-5, but induced a critical 6-4-3 double play to escape further damage.

"That was huge for Iverson," Butler said. "He's a senior and he's been here all four years grinding. He struggled the first couple batters but didn't give in."

Meanwhile, Butler couldn't say enough about the job his starting pitchers did.

"They kept getting ahead in the count," he said. "When you get ahead 0-1, 0-2, that gives us the opportunity to expand the zone a little bit and trust our defenders. Early on (in Florida) we were pitching from behind all the time and that's the biggest adjustment the pitchers have made and they did it beautifully today."

Offensively, Borowski finished the day 4-for-8 with three RBIs, with Johnston, Ethan Showers, Sorokas and Clinger all collecting extra base hits.

The Panthers get right back at it Thursday, as they travel to Erie for a doubleheader with Penn State Behrend.

(Written by Andy Close)