Northcott, Clinger, Lead Panthers in Split with Hilbert

Photo credit to Erika Helo.
Photo credit to Erika Helo.

HOUGHTON, N.Y. - The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford baseball team (6-10, 1-1) opened Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference play with a split against Hilbert College (4-6, 1-1) at Houghton on Wednesday afternoon.

Reigning AMCC pitcher of the week, Ryan Northcott, turned in another dominating performance on the mound, leading the Panthers to a 3-2 victory in the first game. The Panthers fell to an early 7-0 deficit in the second game, but came back to take a 10-9 lead. However, the Hawks scored two in the bottom of the ninth to take game two 11-10 to earn the split.

"Northy has really been our guy this year. When a pitcher has a hot hand you have to go with him, and he has certainly been consistent for us," said Pitt-Bradford assistant coach Zach Foster. "If he continues to throw well he will really have something to hang his hat on. I am very pleased with his attitude and mindset. He truly has come a long way."

With another outstanding performance on the bump in game one, Northcott improved to 2-3 on the year. The right-hander allowed just one earned run while striking out six in a complete game (seven innings) effort.

Jay Clinger, Tim Brown and Jean Turber gave the Panthers all the offense they would as they picked up one hit and one RBI each while Brock Blovsky, Austin Parent, Dalton Renn and Jacob Rivers added one hit each in the victory.

Anthony Wurstner and Kevin Moore drove in the Hawk's only two runs and Justin Hulbert was solid on the mound, allowing just three runs while striking out 10 over seven innings of work.

Hilbert took an early 1-0 lead on Moore's infield single in the first. Pitt-Bradford struck right back on Turber's RBI single through the left side, tying the game at 1-1 in the top of the second.

Brown then gave the Panthers a 2-1 lead with an RBI single to center in the top of the third, but the Hawks answered with one of their own on Wurstner's RBI groundout to short in the home half, tying the game at 2-2 after three.

Clinger picked up a huge RBI single right back up the middle in the top of the seventh, scoring Rivers and giving Pitt-Bradford a 3-2 lead and eventually the win as Northcott shut down the Hawks in the home half.

The second game was far from a pitcher's duel as the two team's combined for 32 hits and 21 runs, but it would be the Hawks who came from behind and walked off winners with two runs in the bottom of the ninth.

Clinger had a breakout game for the Panthers offensively, going 4-5 with three RBI and two runs scored while Keagan Goodliff was 3-5 with three RBI and three runs scored. Dalton Renn added three hits and drove in two runs while Pat James and Kevin Sompel both drove in one run each and Sawyer Packard went 3-4 with three runs scored from the nine-hole in the heartbreaker. Matt Hogue took the loss on the mound, despite not allowing an earned run in three innings of scoreless relief.

The Hawk's offense got out to a fast start, scoring two in the first, one in the second and four in the fifth to take a 7-0 lead into the sixth inning.

The Panthers offense awoke, scoring five runs on five hits in the top of the sixth to tighten the Hilbert lead to just 7-5. Clinger started the rally with an RBI single to right field while James added an RBI single up the middle. Goodliff then crushed a two-run double to the left-centerfield gap and Sompel added a sacrifice fly to cap Pitt-Bradford's big inning.

The Hawks followed with one of their own in the home half to extend their lead to 8-5.

However, The Panthers had another big inning offensively, scoring four runs on five hits to take a 9-8 lead in the top of the seventh. Clinger again started the rally, this time with a big RBI double to right while Renn followed with a two-run double to center. Goodliff rounded out the four-run seventh with an RBI single through the left side.

Clinger extended the Panther's lead to 10-8 with another RBI single to center in the eighth. Hogue then worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth to take the lead into the ninth.

The Hawks scored two unearned runs on one hit to capture the 11-10 victory in the home half of the ninth to earn the split.

The Panthers return to action Saturday afternoon at Alfred State for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.