BRADFORD, Pa. – The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford baseball team (12-19, 6-8) picked up a crucial sweep over AMCC foe, Penn State Altoona (11-26, 4-10) on Sunday afternoon at the Kessel Athletic Complex, putting themselves in a good position in the race for the AMCC playoffs.
The Panthers used a 15-run third inning to cruise to a 17-5 victory in the opener, and then picked up a 10-5 victory in the finale.
"It was a huge sweep for us, especially considering we could have just folded after two tough losses on Saturday," said Pitt-Bradford assistant coach Zach Foster. "Instead, the boys came ready to play and we pitched well and our offense was firing on all cylinders."
Tim Brown led the Panther's offense in the opener, crushing a grand slam to left field while Austin Parent went 3-5 with a solo shot and three RBI. Jay Clinger added three hits and drove in three while Kevin Sompel drove in three runs and Jacob Rivers had three hits and an RBI. Dalton Renn, Pat James and Brody Wood drove in one run each while Brock Blovsky chipped in with two hits. Every Panther in the starting lineup had at least one hit and eight of the nine starters drove in at least one run in the game one victory.
Matt Hogue improved to 3-2 on the mound, allowing five runs while striking out three and walking two in a complete game effort for the Panthers.
"Both pitchers did a great job for us today," Foster said. "They kept us in the game and did what they had to do to get the win."
Despite dropping the opener, the Lions did strike first on a Jim Shomberg RBI single in the top of the first. The Panthers answered right back on Clinger's first RBI single of the day.
However, Penn State Altoona took a 3-1 lead with two RBI singles to center in the top of the second.
The Lion's lead didn't last long as the Panther's offense exploded for a 15-run home half of the third. The Panthers batted around twice in the inning. Sompel started the rally by getting hit with a pitch with the bases loaded. Clinger followed with a two-run single to left while Renn added an RBI single and Parent followed with a two-run double. James kept the rally going with an RBI double while Wood and Rivers followed with RBI singles and Sompel added a sacrifice fly. Brown then demolished a grand slam way over the left field wall and Parent followed with a solo shot, capping the 15-run inning and giving the Panthers a 16-3 lead after five.
"That 15-run inning was pretty cool to be a part of," Foster said. "That just shows what we are capable of."
Sompel extended the Panther's lead to 17-3 with an RBI double in the fourth. The Lions would add one run in the sixth, and another in the seventh, but it was too little too late as the Panthers emerged with the 17-5 victory.
The Panther's bats stayed hot in the second game. Renn led the Panthers in game two, going 4-5 with two RBI while Sompel added two more RBI. Clinger, Brown, Parent and Rivers drove in one run each while Justin Beimel earned his fourth win of the season, allowing five runs on nine hits while striking out two in a complete game effort on the bump.
The Lions once again struck first, taking a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Clinger and Brown roped RBI singles to tie the game at 2-2 in the home half.
Pitt-Bradford once again used a big inning to put the game out of reach. The Panther's offense exploded for five runs, starting with Sompel's two-run triple. Sompel later scored on a wild pitch while Renn and Parent ripped back-to-back RBI singles to cap the big inning and extend the Panther lead to 7-2.
The Lions got two back in the top of the fourth, but Pitt-Bradford struck back with two of their own in the bottom of the sixth. Rivers crushed a solo shot to left and Renn added an RBI single, extending the Panthers lead to 9-4.
Both teams added a run in the seventh, but the Panthers hung on for the 10-5 victory, completing the sweep over Penn State Altoona.
"I'm very proud of how the whole team went about their business," Foster said. "We told them what needed to be done and they all stepped up in a huge way for two great team wins. Now we need to keep the momentum and keep fighting."
The Panthers close out their regular season AMCC slate Saturday afternoon at LaRoche. First pitch from Pittsburgh is slated for 1 p.m.